City, Vulcan near settlement in 5-year lawsuit

Maryville councilmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to sign an agreement settling the lawsuit that has dragged on for five years between Vulcan and the City of Maryville.

The vote didn’t settle the matter, but it took it a step closer to being wrapped up. “What we voted on was to agree to sign it,” Vice Mayor Andy White said.

Now Vulcan attorneys must have Vulcan executives and Trotter family heirs sign it before the city fathers can sign and officially close the matter.

“It was a long process,” White said. “It was going on three years before I became involved. There was a misunderstanding along the way. People were thinking city was going to shut Vulcan down. This was never about shutting Vulcan down. All we were trying to do was address zoning issues that dated back to 1968. It had to do with expansion of the quarry.”

White said that the city addressed the issue in 1968 and said they couldn’t expand it in its current location. “We were trying to get clarification. Vulcan said they could, and we said they couldn’t, and we reached an agreement,” he said.

White said many hours of work went into the proposed agreement. “It’s very important for Maryville’s future. It defines the scope of what Vulcan is able to do at that quarry and defines it for both for Vulcan and the citizens living around the quarry,” he said.

White, the new vice mayor, commended Vulcan and Harrison for being willing to negotiate and reach a settlement. “We were on opposite ends for such a long time, but they finally agreed to the things we were asking,” he said. “I look forward to getting this issue behind us so we can address other very important issues the city is facing.”

Newly-installed Mayor Tom Taylor said the Vulcan settlement was everything the city could’ve hoped for out of the settlement. “I think it’s always important to remember they filed suit against us. We did counter sue. This was after literally years of nose-to-nose negotiations, and we elected Joe Swann to do that,” he said.

Taylor said the council asked then Mayor Swann to participate on behalf of the council because too many voices could have made it more complex than it already was. “Attorney Bill Vines is a genuinely nice guy but tough as nails. And he has the credentials to handle a lawsuit like this,” Taylor said of the attorney the city hired for the suit. “Between city manager Greg McClain, Joe Swann and Bill Vines, they hammered out a wonderful settlement for the city, and we will feel more comfortable once we get it all signed,” he said. “Essentially it was a done deal.”

Swann, who lives on Court Street near the Vulcan quarry, said he was extremely pleased with the settlement. “It’s great for the community. It was a long process but in the end it was something worth doing,” he said. “I’m very pleased with what happened.”

In a prepared statement, Vulcan Material – Midsouth Division Council responded to the settlement.

“We’re delighted to have this issue resolved and appreciate the Maryville City Council approving this settlement. This is truly in the best interests of everyone.

“This settlement will allow Vulcan to continue to operate in a way that is best for our neighbors and the Maryville community as a whole.

“Vulcan’s continued operations will help keep construction costs as low as possible for our area since 90 percent of our material is used right here in Blount County. As part of the settlement, Vulcan has also agreed to operate with additional environmental standards requested by the City in addition to existing state and federal regulations governing the facility.

“We believe this is a win for all. Again, we appreciate the council’s vote and look forward to continuing to be a part of the Maryville community.”

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