Zon­ing re­quest de­nied for waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By KEVIN MYRICK Editor

The Polk County Plan­ning and Zon­ing Board de­nied an ap­pli­ca­tion for prop­erty near Coot’s Lake to be changed from C1 Com­mer­cial to I-2 In­dus­trial.

How­ever, the is­sue hasn’t been thrown out with the trash just yet. The Polk County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers will get their chance to vote the zon­ing change up or down in Au­gust.

Dur­ing the board’s meet­ing on Thurs­day evening, mem­bers de­nied the ap­pli­ca­tion made by David Jack­son, Green Land­fill and Med­care Man­age­ment to move the prop­erty into an in­dus­trial zone on be­half of the com­pany that wants to pur­chase it.

Cur­rent own­ers wantto sell the prop­erty to A&M Dis­posal LLC for use as a waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity. But A&M’s pres­i­dent, Matthew Iles, will have to wait for the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers to hear the is­sue in Au­gust.

Iles re­it­er­ated that the fa­cil­ity would not take in waste that would go into a land­fill, but in­stead the com­pany will re-use what was once a land­fill it­self that has been cov­ered over.

He also said his com­pany – which is look­ing to call Polk County home – will spend “a good deal of money” to fix prob­lems with the in­ert land­fill al­ready on site.

Iles also said the noise of the ma­chines that would run on site crush­ing rock and chip­ping wood for mulch would not be as se­ri­ous as a con­cern as pre­vi­ously thought, since trees sur­round­ing the outer edges of the prop­erty would dampen the noise.

He said his fam­i­lyrun busi­ness – with only three trucks in their

fleet cur­rently – was look­ing for a place to call home, and said he wanted to in­vest and give back to Polk County if al­lowed to lo­cate the busi­ness at the site.

Iles also went so far as to tell the board that he would be will­ing to in­clude writ­ten prom­ises never to bring any kind of ma­te­ri­als onto the prop­erty that would be dam­ag­ing to the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

He said ad­den­dums to any zon­ing change could also be in­cluded to im­me­di­ately put the prop­erty back into com­mer­cial zon­ing should he ever de­cide to sell it.

The Stan­dard Jour­nal reached out to County At­tor­ney Brad McFall for com­ment on whether ad­denda to a zon­ing change ap­proval could sur­vive a court chal­lenge, but calls were not re­turned by press time on Mon­day.

Lo­cal res­i­dent Art Rags­dale spoke on be­half of other prop­erty own­ers in the area and voiced con­cerns about pol­lu­tion, loss of prop­erty value, and kind of the im­pres­sion the busi­ness would make on those com­ing into the county on High­way 278.

“It doesn’t mat­ter what we call it, it’ll still be called ‘the dump,’” Rags­dale said.

Rags­dale also ar­gued that lo­cal res­i­dents are con­cerned that no mat­ter what prom­ises Iles com­mits to writ­ing, un­in­tended pol­lu­tion could still get into the wa­ter­shed from the prop­erty and cause ma­jor is­sues down the road.

“We tell our kids all the time ‘don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s come from.’ Well, it’s the same thing here. You can’t re­ally know where this mate- rial is com­ing from or what it’s been through,” Rags­dale said.

The re­zon­ing ap­pli­ca­tion now moves on to the Au­gust meet­ing of the Polk County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers who will hear a re­port from the North­west Ge­or­gia Re­gional Com­mis­sion be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

Julie Mead­ows, the di­rec­tor of re­gional plan­ning for the North­west Ge­or­gia Re­gional Com­mis­sion, told zon­ing board mem­bers the NWGRC will de­liver a re­port on the pro­posed zon­ing change to the Polk County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers within days of that night’s de­nial.

She said the re­port will in­clude com­ments from state and fed­eral author­i­ties, among oth­ers.

The two other ap­pli­ca­tions on the agenda, one from David Fincher, who wants to lo­cate a cab­i­net shop on his prop­erty, and one from Mur­phy Harpst Chil­dren’s Cen­ter to change the zon­ing to al­low a build­ing on their Grady Road prop­erty to be rented out for a per­sonal care home, were ap­proved.

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Kevin Myrick/SJ

Matthew Iles of A&M Dis­posal makes the case to al­low for a zon­ing change on Rockmart prop­erty he wants to buy dur­ing the June 18 County Plan­ning and Zon­ing Board meet­ing.

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