Tranfer station proposal draws residents’ ire

Mon, 08/20/2007 - 8:58am
By: Ben Nelms

The Fairburn City Council meeting Aug. 13 had a full agenda with a variety of topics. But nearly all in the standing room-only crowd of 100 came for just one item, a proposed garbage transfer station on Bohannon Road. A decision on the proposal is expected at the Aug. 27 meeting.

The proposal was initially up for consideration in July, though at that time the council decided to conduct the public hearing before making a decision. In July and again Aug. 13 the council heard the conceptual site plan for Fairburn Transfer Station, located on Bohannon Road north of I-85. An inert recycling facility is currently located on the 26.48-acre site. Site owners Walker Brothers proposed to construct a transfer station on the property that would handle household trash and construction waste, essentially providing a mid-point between the site of generation and the final disposal of trash into a landfill. Project representatives said the transfer station would not emit off-site odors, would produce no pollution in the surrounding areas and would be cleaned each day.

Residents Aug. 13 were not convinced. Community leaders from Meadow Glen and Magnolia home owners associations, a representative of Congressman David Scott, former South Fulton/Fayette Community Task Force Connie Biemiller, Fulton County Community Zoning Board Commissioner and Creekwood Road resident Sandra Hardy and others told council members the idea of having a household trash drop-off and recycling center in close proximity to southside neighborhoods was objectionable. Residents cited odors, continuous truck traffic, liquid spilling from trash trucks and damage to Bohannon and other roadways as reasons why the council should deny the request.

Such a denial may not be without obstacles since the property is already zoned for such a facility. Referenced though not explored at the meeting was the potential that Walker Brothers might choose to file suit if the council decides to deny the request. City attorney Brad Sears did suggest that the planning commission might be instructed to review the permitted uses in the zoning ordinance.

Few on the council openly stated a particular preference on the proposal, though some cited support for the project by others not at the meeting. Virtually the only comment coming as an opinion was that of Councilman Mario Avery who cited traffic concerns and impact to city roads, saying this type of facility is a major liability to the city.

In the end, Mayor Betty Hannah said the council would weigh residents’ input and make a decision at the Aug. 27 meeting.

Little mention was made in July and nothing was said at the Aug. 13 meeting about the actual volume of truck traffic likely to be experienced if the proposal is approved and where that trash might originate. Walker Brothers initially said approximately eight trucks per hour would be expected to use the facility. Eight trucks per hour works out to 320 trucks per week based on eight-hour operations five days per week. This amount of truck traffic is clearly far beyond Fairburn’s current waste-hauling needs. There was no indication to residents where the additional trash transported along city streets might originate, nor did any on the council ask the question.

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Submitted by Dee Dee on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 6:17pm.

I believe what some people may be missing when they say, "not in my back yard and you moved into an industrial area", is that quite a few people were here before it was industrial and before CSX came. They have valid issues for "not in my backyard" because their backyard was once very rural and industrial was no where in sight!

Submitted by Dalmation195 on Mon, 08/20/2007 - 10:37am.

It seems to me that any time someone wants to do anything relating to garbage, the locals scream "Not in my neighborhood!"

They want their garbage picked up, and they do not care where it goes, until they think it is going to be near to them. That is why garbage collection companies have had to set up transfer stations and then truck it to outlying areas because we can't have a landfill here in our neighborhood. Now when a company wants to set up a transfer station in an area that is already zoned heavy industrial, they want to complain about that. Bohannon Road already has truck traffic on it. It would not change that much with the addition of this. That location is in heavy industrial, surrounded by the CSX Railroad facility and other manufacturing facilities.

What is their complaint, that they bought a home down the road from warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and they don't like it?

Let's be realistic, there is not a better place for this in the area. Come-on City Councilors, do the right thing first.

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