CLERMONT -- A controversial cement-mixing plant whose dust-belching, earth-shaking operations angered its neighbors closed quietly Monday, apparently after receiving the county's OK to relocate to an industrial park near Leesburg.
"I hope they've actually moved," said Amy Wright, who nailed plywood boards over her bedroom windows to muffle the industrial racket and rumblings from the State Road 50 site used by AB Ready Mix and Prestige Gunite of Orlando. "We've had seven years of unhappiness."
Company officials could not be reached for comment Monday at the listed phone number for the Clermont site. They also did not immediately return messages left with a receptionist at corporate headquarters in South Florida.
But the Clermont site appeared abandoned Monday, said Jim Wills, the county's chief building inspector whose staff has watched the operation closely because of neighbors' complaints.
Wills said company officials informed him recently that they would shift their operations to Rogers Industrial Park as soon as the county issued a certificate-of-occupancy for the 7-acre site south of Leesburg. The certificate was issued Thursday by the Lake County Building Department, spokesman Chris Patton said.
Previous complaints about dust and noise led to fines and a lawsuit.
Wright and many of her neighbors on Mandarin Circle in Winter Garden also sued AB Ready Mix and Prestige Gunite, alleging the companies' negligence allowed cement dust to escape the industrial grounds and coat homes and gardens.
Some say they couldn't even use their swimming pools or barbecues.
Wills said the neighbors complained so often that his staff checked on the operation three times a day, seven days a week.
The companies, which did business under the names Prestige, AB Ready Mix and B & B of South Florida, produce materials used in road construction.
The plant was in the 17000 block of S.R. 50 east of Clermont and just west of the Orange-Lake county border.
Wright said she hopes the county buys the site and turns it into a park.
The cement plant's planned move to Rogers Industrial Park also has sparked protests from residents of Arlington Ridge, a 55-and-older community.
Some fear the companies will bring dust, noise, traffic and other troubles from their old site to their new neighborhood.
They, too, have sued.
But county officials have said the new site is zoned for heavy industry and the company has taken steps to corral dust, muffle noise and calm neighbors.
"I think they're trying to comply," Wills said. "I think they want to be good neighbors."