Mableton Residents Fight to Keep Trash Out of Their Community

Mableton residents are fighting to keep a construction and debris transfer station from accepting solid waste just 1,000 feet from their homes.

A group of Mableton residents have organized to keep trash out of their community. Incensed that a waste transfer station, which would generate 150,000 tons of household waste annually, has been approved for their backyards, they are fighting to keep it out.

The Bankhead C & D Transfer Station, LLC is located at 1480 Veterans Memorial Highway, east of Discovery Boulevard. The waste station is already approved to operate as a construction and debris industrial site, but has applied for a special land use permit to accept municipal solid waste, which is household garbage.

County commissioners voted in December to allow the trash center to continue its requests for rezoning and for garbage acceptance on site until a Feb. 21 public hearing.

Residents of the Legacy at River Line subdivision, a portion of which is within 1,000 feet of the proposed transfer station, have held two community meetings to address the issue and are circulating a petition, which has already garnered 600 signatures.

Approximately 50 concerned citizens attended the last community meeting, held Wednesday. They are encouraging others to oppose the project and to attend the Feb. 21 public hearing at 9 a.m. in the BOC meeting room at 100 Cherokee Street in Marietta.

What do you think should be done about the Bankhead Waste Transfer Station? Leave your comments below.

Decreased Property Values a Concern

Leigh Anne Rehkopf, a Mableton resident who lives east of the proposed transfer station, said the transfer station would greatly decrease property values of homes nearby.

The homes of Legacy at River Line range from the high $200,000s to the $300,000s, according to the subdivision’s website.

The transfer station’s application to accept garbage stated that the station would bring in $10,000 to $12,000 in property taxes, the equivalent to property taxes generated from about three or four homes in the surrounding communities.


‘Inherent Incompatibility’ Between Trash Center and Residential Areas

According to the Development of Regional Impact application for the station, the Atlanta Regional Commission found the transfer station to be “in the best interest of the region and therefore the state.”

“I can’t think of anyone in the community who would think this would be good,” Rehkopf said.

Ben Clopper of the Mableton Improvement Coalition–which is opposed to the transfer station– said “a trash transfer station is inappropriate” in that location because the area is surrounded by retail centers, homes and grocery stores, not heavy industrial.

In a letter to , Clopper writes that transfer stations should be separated from residential areas due to “the inherent incompatibility between the handling of large amounts of trash and people enjoying their homes.”

Within 1,000 feet of the planned transfer station location are more than 35 single family homes and 15 townhomes, according to Clopper’s letter.

Within a mile of the location are two convenience stores, two retail shopping centers, one adjacent to the property of the planned transfer station and another being zoned across the street from it.

“The Board of Commissioners spent the last 10 years approving rezonings along Veterans Memorial from industrial to residential, and this is going completely the opposite direction,” Clopper told South Cobb Patch.


Accepting Garbage without a Permit

 The transfer station, which has not been approved to accept municipal solid waste, was cited for accepting MSW on Jan. 5, 2011. The Bankhead C & D Transfer Station has continued to accept MSW during the nine months before it applied for the special land use permit to accept household trash and during the four months after submitting the permit, Clopper explained.

The operators of the waste center included plans to minimize the center’s odors.


Green Street Properties Lawyer Represents Transfer Station

Garvis Sams, the lawyer representing Green Street Properties, is representing the Bankhead C & D Transfer Station.

Green Street Properties is the developer creating a, a mile and a half from the waste center. In 2009, a plan for a similar trash center was opposed by the community and later denied by commissioners.  The property owner has now been allowed to operate a recycling center in the area through mediation after suing the county.

Residents felt this option was preferable to the originally proposed trash center.


Historical Resources to be Affected

According to the application from Bankhead Transfer Station, the transfer station project would affect local historic resources, specifically the Turner-Sewell Cemetery.

“The subject property is located within the MRPA corridor. The Turner-Sewell Cemetery is on site and will be preserved with fencing and buffering,” the application states.

Additionally, others in opposition feel the transfer station is too close to the river and could be environmentally hazardous.


South Cobb Patch will provide continuous coverage of this issue, so check back often for updates.

Linda Rehkopf February 03, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I'd like to hear from the county commissioners. Their silence speaks.
Stephanie Gray February 03, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I don't think the commissioners have visited the area in a long time and aren't aware of the vast changes to this developing area. There are now thousands of homes and families in the immediate area. Not only will the garbage generate an odor, but there is the potential for rat infestation and roaches. The transfer station should not be allowed this close to so many residences!
Shelia Edwards February 03, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Thank you for highlighting this important issue that will have such a negative impact on our community if passed by the Cobb County Commissioners. Bankhead Transfer Station has conveniently forgotten to tell the county that residential communities are next door to them. Please keep the "spotlight" on this story. Say yes to neighborhoods and no to trash.
Carlye Buchanan February 03, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I am one of the homeowners within 1000 feet of the transfer station. I beg anyone that is able to write the Cobb Commissioners to tell them this is NOT wanted! I don't know what I will do if it is passed and my back yard smells of garbage. I love my home and want to continue to live in this wonderful growing community! PLEASE HELP!!!
Bettye Cleveland February 03, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I live at Legacy and am alarmed that this could happen to us. If this Bankhead Transfer Station is allowed to go through it will negatiavely impact our health, property value and standard of living. I say NO TO TRASH and will oppose this with all possible resources and to the end. We WILL UNITE and NOT LET THIS HAPPEN NEXT DOOR TO US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Their ARE neighborhoods within close proximity of this transfer station.
Dominique Huff February 04, 2012 at 03:05 AM
The real issue here the county that zoned residential inside of an industrial area. Riverview Road may not be sexy but those businesses have paid taxes into our coffers for years. When the merchants left Veterans Memorial and eateries left Floyd Road, they still remained. People are employed there and right now, South Cobb cannot afford to add to the unemployment rate. I am all for revitalizing Mableton (we know the area needs it) but to engage in backwards zoning (building residential along Riverview Road, an area that floods during heavy rains) and place residents near trash dumps, the blame needs to be placed where it belongs, the county. If you notice Fulton Industrial does not have upscale housing near its warehouses. Yes, there are some luxury apartments towards the Campbellton Road end but those residents were not placed next to a loud factory that operates 24/7/365. And we say Cobb has it figured out. I wonder if this zoning would be allowed along Barrett Parkway, North Marietta or other nice areas of the county.
Shelia Edwards February 04, 2012 at 12:27 PM
That is a "smoke screen" to hide behind. The REAL ISSUE is the Bankhead Transfer Station never had a legal zoning or land use permit to take in household trash. They have been operating for years illegally and was found out only when code enforcement discovered their illegal actions. They should have been issued a cease order at that time and that should have been the end of the story. Instead, the Bankhead Transfer Station is trying to get their illegal actions "grandfathered" by Cobb County by applying for a zoning and land use change. This business should have been shut down instead of being allowed to expose our communities to household waste and all of the negatives such as odors, rodents, and noise. The Bankhead Transfer Station's current zoning and land use permit allows it to take “general commercial” trash (building trash and materials) to their facility for sorting. Our community is not trying to stop them from operating as a business that provides jobs under their legal zoning and land use. We are fighting their request to have their designation changed - which will allow them to bring in household trash and any other materials they choose to sort at the facility - without any care or concern for our neighboring community, our families, or our health.
Cobb resident February 04, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Say YES to families and parks. So NO to trash and transfer stations in our community. Please go online and sign the petition to stop this rezoning. http://tiny.cc/notrash
Dominique Huff February 05, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I still have to beg the question on why Smyrna (who caved in to a developer with annexation), allowed a residential development to abut an industrial area. Ditto for the county. I comprehend the issue but I want to know why county just thought residential and industrial can co-exist that close together. When Veterans Memorial went through the rezonings, I knew battles like this was next. I have seen this other areas, who is in the right? Businesses who have been here or new residents who knowingly purchased in an industrial area. Were they told these businesses would be leaving?
Julie L February 07, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Thank you for the informative article! I live near the Buckhead Transfer Station and am thankful that you have pointed out the tax revenue discrepancy. Based on your figures, the residential tax revenue benefits far outweigh this one industrial exposure's potential tax revenue. How likely are we to see continued residential growth (and far much more tax dollars) if this rezoning is approved? Although other comments question the logic of placing residential homes so near commercial exposure, I think it is important to point out that the zoning request is to change from commercial to heavy industrial. I purchased my home partially because of the convenient location and I am happy being near businesses; it saves me time and ensures my dollar votes go back into my community. However, the heavy industrial zoning is beyond the scope of what I want in my backyard. Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue!
Yoann Barbosa February 07, 2012 at 06:24 PM
If the petition is approved, this will be a step back in the so call "revitalization" of the area. Most of the transition projects that helped built residences and retail areas were also approved by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners should visit the area so they can have a sense of the proximity of this station to our homes. Not only the quality of the air we breath will be impacted, but we will also be exposed to insects, rodents, birds, and other disease carrying animals that like to hang around places like this.
Lisa Cupid February 08, 2012 at 03:27 AM
There is strength in numbers. Signing up is great. Showing up is even better. Please attend and encourage your neighbors to attend and speak at the Board of Commissioner Zoning Hearing on Feb. 21 at 9am.
Pam Fyffe February 12, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Something is stinky in Mableton! But I hold hope that once the Commissioners hear all the information they will do the right thing. If they lived here they would see right away that this is not a feasible plan. So please to you all at the Cobb County Commissioners office, won't you drive over and just take a look? I'm sure if you do you will make the decision that is the greatest good for the greatest number. I have faith in you. Pam Fyffe
HeartDoc Andrew March 18, 2013 at 11:54 PM
would not be surprised to see a cluster of several cases of West Nile among the children of the new SAE School that is opening this year just up Riverview road from BTS if they're allowed to proceed with their plans, Just one dead child could result in a multi-million dollar lawsuit that would not only bankrupt BTS but would force the recall of Cobb BOC just as the education crisis in DeKalb forced the removal of their BOE.


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