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.
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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.