Community and mayor fight concrete plant in historic neighborhood

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Lillian Simpson has trouble getting around. She also has trouble breathing. That's something she said is exacerbated by a concrete company that operates on her street, De Soto Street, in Acres Homes.

"My biggest concern is the air," she said. "I'm mostly in the house. I don't come out very much."

She's further concerned that the company wants to expand its operations. It's a move she opposes as do others who live in the area. Ruby Scranton lives in Oaks of Inwood less than two miles away.

"I'm concerned about the park across the street and our children being exposed to it," said Scranton. "I am also concerned about the nursing home that's only less than a mile away."

Politicians are also involved at the state, federal, and local levels. All of them are fighting a business they say has a purpose but not in a residential neighborhood and across the street from a heavily used park. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked the state to deny the company, Soto Ready Mix, a permit and for Soto to withdraw its request.

"The city of Houston will do everything within its power to prevent this facility from being right next to, in this particular neighborhood," said Turner. "Let me be very clear. If it was someplace else,I cannot even imagine this facility being set up."

And while the city can't regulate concrete plants, it has issued 34 separate citations to the facility in the last year. We reached out to both the company here in Houston and to its attorney in Austin. ABC13 reached out to both the company in Houston and its attorney in Austin, neither returned our call or answered requests for comment. Lillian Simpson hopes something changes. If not, she doesn't see a future here.

"I probably would have to move," she said.

It's the same sentiment for the Williams family. Their property is adjacent to Soto's current facility. Their house predates the business opening several years ago.

"We've had issues with cement runoff into our yard," said Donna Williams. "Issues with flooding. Our vegetation has been impacted. Our property value has tanked. $60,000 solely because of Soto Ready Mix."

They live here with their grandson who has asthma.

There is a meeting with the Texas Commission On Environmental Quality on this issue in Houston later this month. That is the next step for the company and the residents.

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