Magna residents, worried their homes would be destroyed during an accidental explosion, have won another delay in Salt Lake County's decision whether to allow Hercules Inc. to expand.
Company officials have wait-ed five weeks for permission to build a $145 million plant that would be used to manufacture Titan IV missiles. They said last week they were ready to begin construction the moment the county's planning commission grants approval.But a devastating blast at a Henderson, Nev., rocket plant earlier this month has heightened concerns among Hercules' neighbors. The commission voted Tuesday night after a 21/2-hour public hearing to wait one more week for a decision.
Jack DeMann, Hercules public affairs director, said the company will fall behind in its contract to produce the missiles unless construction starts before June 1.
"If we had gotten a decision tonight, we would've been ready to start moving earth tomorrow," he said.
County administrators joined Hercules Tuesday night in saying the expansion will not increase the danger to nearby residents.
But Magna residents were not convinced. "They (Magna residents) believe that moving the plant further north will present a problem and a danger for them," said Ross Whitaker, a member of the Magna Area Council, one of two community groups in the area, which is unincorporated.
"They've seen Henderson. Maybe it (a blast) will never happen here, but what if it does? Are they (Hercules) really that concerned about the community? Personally, I don't think so."
Not all area residents oppose the expansion. Community leaders in nearby Kearns have written a letter supporting the move.