The Dickson County Commission voted Tuesday night to settle lawsuits by Titan Partners, allowing Titan’s proposed fuel terminal to be built in Burns.
The lawsuit settlement was added to the commission’s agenda during the meeting under a process known as suspension of the rules.
The commission voted 10-1-1 to approve the settlement, with Commissioner Johnnie Reed opposed and Commissioner Linda Hayes abstaining.
The vote authorizes County Mayor Bob Rial and Planning Commission Chairman Shane Chandler to sign the settlement. The planning commission approved the settlement without dissent on Jan. 14.
Before the vote, county attorney Andrew Mills read a summary of the settlement, duplicating his presentation to the planning commission on Jan. 14.
According to Mills, Titan must do the following:
- Produce a new traffic study;
- Pay to train firefighters and install specific types of fire-suppression equipment;
- Engage in groundwater and surface-water monitoring;
- Share environmental data with the county and the local water authority;
- Build a secondary containment dike;
- Give $1 million to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for a Dickson County agricultural center or another use;
- Pay the local-government cost share (Dickson County and City of Dickson) of a Two Mile Road upgrade plan that would also include state funds.
The votes by the two commissions will allow tanker truck access to the fuel terminal by turning Two Mile Road into an industrial highway.
Titan, a subsidiary of Houston-based Buckeye Partners, received a construction permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation last July.
By allowing the fuel terminal with mutually agreed-upon conditions, the settlement will dispose of all Titan litigation against the county.
After the planning commission meeting, Titan said by email regarding the settlement: “Titan Partners is pleased with the Planning Commission’s approval of our fuel terminal, which will deliver important benefits to all of the residents of Dickson County. We’re fully committed to being a partner in Dickson County’s future, taking an active role as a good neighbor in the community and being a responsible operator that protects the environment and public safety.”
Planning Commissioner Robert Comer was among those who had voted against plans for the multimillion-gallon fuel storage facility. But he said at the Jan. 14 meeting that he was satisfied by what he considered to be robust environmental safeguards and other conditions in the proposed settlement.
The settlement “provides those protective measures that I was seeking all along, and I think does a great job in protecting this community,” Comer said.
Without a settlement, Comer said, a judge might have ruled in favor of Titan and left the county with no recourse as to conditions.
“I was not willing to risk that,” Comer said.
Two Mile Road
The settlement revives plans to upgrade Two Mile Road in order to accommodate up to 100 tanker trucks per day to get between the fuel terminal site and Highway 46.
For the upgrade, the settlement requires the county commission to approve a grant application seeking State Industrial Access funds from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Mills told the planning board.
Mills said Titan would pay the local-government share of the cost of the road upgrade. SIA grants involve a 50-50 state-local cost split
Part of Two Mile Road is in the city of Dickson and part is in the unincorporated county. Titan would pay the county and city costs, which combine to form the local share, Mills said.
Opponents’ lawsuits continuing
Dickson lawyer Rodger Waynick has filed two lawsuits against the county on behalf of fuel terminal opponents, and these suits are continuing as they are not part of the Titan-county proposed settlement.
The first votes by county boards on Titan’s proposal — last spring and summer — went in favor of the fuel terminal. Those votes triggered the legal action by Waynick.
All litigation pertaining to the fuel terminal has been moved out of Dickson County’s state courts (part of State Judicial District 23) and put into the hands of a Clarksville-based state judge, Chancellor Larry McMillan (State Judicial District 19).
McMillan has discussed procedural matters with attorneys involved in the fuel terminal litigation, according to his clerk Ashlee Baggett, but he had not held oral argument or issued any substantive rulings as of last week.