Residents set to stage drive-thru protest against Metro Green recycling plant Aug. 10

Jason & Rob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L-R: Mayor Jason Lary,  City Council member Rob Turner

Special-Called City Council meeting today, Aug. 3, 6 p.m.

 

STONECREST—Residents are planning to stage a drive-thru protest to stop the construction of a Metro Green, LLC concrete recycling plant, which is now underway in the city of Stonecrest.

The protest will be held in the parking lot of Stonecrest City Hall on Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m., said Kamla Gonzales, one of the organizers.

Gonzales and other residents say the plant will bring pollution, continuous truck traffic, noise and lower their property values and they want the city to shut down construction immediately.

“The citizens of Stonecrest are under the impression that the mayor has allowed Stonecrest to become a dumping ground,” said Gonzales. “Instead of using this opportunity to address our concerns and ensure us this wasn’t the case, Mayor Lary decided to insult us by saying “You’ve got to be a complete ass to think that.”

Mayor Jason Lary said he was defending himself against vicious untrue accusations leveled at him at the July 27 City Council meeting.

“It’s frustrating when people are saying that I’m an environmental racist and the intent from the beginning was to create Stonecrest as a dumping ground for toxic industrial companies and to suppress the black vote!! I’m black just like them,” said Lary. “I worked four years to build this city from scratch and an additional three more years governing it. I’ve made personal, family and career ending sacrifices that no one else would have ever considered to serve our community. Stonecrest is my life’s work. I stand by what I said: If you insinuate or think that I created the City of Stonecrest to do us harm, that’s the dumbest thing ever.”.

Lary said the city had issued a stop-work order on the project on July 1 on the advice of staff and City Attorney Winston Denmark. He said he lifted the order on July 14 on the advice of Denmark, who expressed concerns about possible legal action from Metro Green.

The mayor said that a decision on the stop-work order is on the agenda for the Special-Called meeting this evening (Aug. 3) at 6 p.m. Councilmember Rob Turner said he called for the meeting and is expecting the council to vote on issuing the stop-work order immediately.

“Citizens and four council members are demanding a stop-work order and again, I will follow the advice of our city attorney,” Lary said. “As mayor, I am going to do what is in the best interest for the entire city based on the legal opinion of our city attorney. Because whatever decision we make, it will have a long-lasting effect on the city,” Lary said.  “I have to follow the law.”

Lary said he sympathize with the concerns of residents and he is doing his best to make sure that the city serves the needs of the people.

“We’re dealing with patchwork zoning in our new city. When the city was first formed, the re-zoning was already in place that allowed developers to build homes in the industrial park. Now, people who have built their homes are upset because industry is coming on the land that was still zoned for industrial use,” Lary said.

Meanwhile, the city has launched an investigation into the permitting of the Metro Green project. The process began in 2018 under then-Community Planning Director Nicole Dozier and then-City Manager Michael Harris. The city manager wrote letters approving the project. Since the 50-acre tract was already zoned for industrial use, the matter never came before the City Council for a vote and moved through the permitting process, which included advertised public hearings for the project, staff members said.

Last month, however, some council members, including Rob Turner, said that they and residents were not properly notified of the proposed plant. Several residents say they found out a recycling plant for construction debris was going up when the land was cleared earlier this year.

“I don’t know how members of the council can say they didn’t know about it, even if the matter did not come before the City Council as a whole,” said Mayor Lary. “When Councilman Rob Turner and I met with Metro Green last year, they presented their plans for alternative entry into the facility. They said they would enter off of Snapfinger instead of Miller Road to avoid bringing so much traffic on Miller Road. The project is in Councilman Turner’s district.”

Turner said he did in fact meet with the mayor, staff members and Metro Green consultants last year, but he believed the project was already approved.

“It was a courtesy meeting to let me know what was going on because it was in my district. I didn’t have any input or anything like that,” Turner said.

Turner, along with Councilman Jimmy Clanton, the law firm of Fincher Denmark, LLC and City Planning Director Chris Wheeler are conducting the probe. They are trying to determine, among several things, why the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issued a solid waste permit to Metro Green last year, despite DeKalb County’s denial for approval. The city of Stonecrest has an intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb County to manage solid waste within the city.

DeKalb Sanitation Director Tracy Hutchinson stated in emails to EPD officials and Metro Green that the recycling plant’s plans were not consistent with the county’s solid waste management plan. However, a Metro Green consultant said during a town hall meeting last month that the permit was approved because Stonecrest had jurisdiction over the site since it is within city limits.The company maintains that it has complied with its state permit, state law and local ordinances.

Elected officials at the state and county level also have weighed in on the matter at virtual town hall meetings they have held.  State Rep. Doreen Carter and State Sen. Emanuel Jones, whose districts include the City of Stonecrest, along with DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, who lives in Stonecrest, are looking into the situation.

Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson and Sen. Jones have sent letters to the EPD, urging the state to revoke the permit.

 

 

On Common Ground News


6 comments

  • Dr. Barbata Lee

    August 3, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    I am thankful that the DeKalb County Commissioners are getting involved also. They live within the area that will be affected by this plant. I encourage all of the State elected officials, representing Stonecrest, to get involved and to stop yet another business that causes cancer and other respiratory illnesses from invading our homes, recreation centers, schools and churches. They always deprive families of a high quality of living.
    elected six people to run Stonecrest and to work on behalf of the citizens of this city. This is the second bad decision that was made without the inclusion of the elected council members. It looks like the lure of the dollar has brought one more thing to lower our quality of life. It is time for someone to pay for these decisions that are being made out of order. We need to eliminate this secret group who made the decision on the cell tower and now this smelly green recycling plant. However, the owners always talk one thing and do the opposite when they get in and begin operation. This is another example of greed reigning over our lives. The Mayor and his group need to be accountable in their pockets for willfully bringing these types of businesses in our neighborhoods.

    Reply

  • S

    August 3, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Can’t blame the people of Stonecrest for protesting. Nobody wants industrial businesses like Metro Green to be their “neighbor” . Not only can it cause life threatening health problems but it can lower property values.No matter how
    safe Metro Green want to claim it want to be ,their promise of keeping the pollution away from their citizens cannot be trusted or guaranteed.

    I live near the Columbia High School area and I’ll never forget about the Atlanta prison riots that took place in 1987. I was just coming coming home from school when I saw smoke thinking that it was coming from from a couple of streets from me. The prison has to be 10 plus miles from it,yet I seen heavy smoke near my home. If I can see smoke from afar coming from that prison just image the residences who could potentially be exposed to the toxins from the place within a couple of blocks/ miles from there.

    When it came to businesses coming to Stonecrest, Im quite sure the people wasn’t expecting the same ‘ ol,same ‘ ol things like industrial businesses that they seem to think that Black people stereotypically deserving of.

    I guarantee that the president/ owner of Metro Green don’t live in a community of industrial businesses.

    Reply

    • Joe Smith

      August 7, 2020 at 10:59 pm

      We don’t want metro green in Stone Crest. I vote NO.

      Reply

  • Jennifer Wilson

    August 9, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Not one resident has stated that we do not want growth for our area. We understand the Mayors three leg game plan. What we dispute is allowing Metro Green to be within 500 feet of three residential communities and two schools: Miller Woods subdivision, Windsor Downs subdivision, Crestview apartments, Miller Grove Middle and Scholars Academy.

    Metro Green (Greenland Snapfinger LLC) acquired this land under the Mayors watch in 2018 with the intent of putting a toxic environmental business. While I understand it is zoned for light industrial why would a company acquire land nestled in this now fully developed residential area? It makes the company appear at the very least that they do not care about the community they are putting their business.

    If Metro Green had not gotten the letter from the Mayors office a permit never would have been issued because the intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb Waste Management division clearly said no….twice…. to Metro Green. Since Metro Green is a waste management company they knew exactly what was needed to move forward with building this development. This is plant #3 and the reviews on the other two plants are not favorable. History shows that Metro Green does not care environmentally about the area they consume.

    We, the residents, were not notified this was coming. We have been scolded by some of the council and the mayor that stated we did not attend the meeting to oppose it. The notification or publication of Metro Green coming was only put in the local newspaper. This was minimal effort and met the basic requirement of the law. However with something this massive more should have been done.

    I live in unincorporated DeKalb and was initially told that they did not have to notify me. Even though the application stipulates that the City of Stonecrest was suppose to notify any resident within 500 feet of the site. That never happened.

    It was not until the residents of Windsor Downs and Miller Woods came together that we realized that the City of Stonecrest never informed Miller Woods either and they are apart of the City of Stonecrest. So when they told me that didn’t have to notify me it makes us wonder what was the reason to not notify Miller Woods residents. Was it an oversight or was it intentional.

    This deal with Metro Green has multiple levels of lawlessness and that alone should cause the powers that be to pause and take a deep dive into this company and how it operates. This development should be stopped.

    At this point we the citizens of the surrounding area of this development, request an immediate Stop Order to give all parties an opportunity to vet this out correctly. The City of Stonecrest failed the residents in this area. It is not too late to correct this fallacy. While I am not a resident of Stonecrest I am your immediate neighbor and this is wrong.

    Our African American brothers and sisters are currently dealing with unlawful deaths of our people, a national pandemic, schools scrambling to have in person versus virtual, unemployment, and this battle we are currently having with the city is so unnecessary. We all want this area to prosper.

    Several residents in this area are caregivers to their elderly parents and this company will make that more difficult to manage. Long after the pandemic is resolved, residents in this area will still need to wear mask. That’s an insane notion.

    This site is not a good fit for this type of business.

    The residents in Miller Woods and Windsor Downs are already feeling the negative existence of this company. Homes are literally being shakened from their foundations one resident in Miller Woods has already noticed a crack on her wall, residents wake up to an ungodly order some days and the constant noise from 7 to 7 six days a week in particularly during a pandemic feels abusive. We should not have to live like this. And the Metro Green has not opened for business yet.

    It’s real simple. Metro Green should be off Industrial Blvd closer to hwy 124 and not 200 feet from these three residential communities and schools. Snapfinger Woods not Miller Road have the infrastructure to handle the loaded cement trucks that will come as a result of this business. The mayor eluded to the fact that under his leadership roads have been paved….does he have it in the immediate plans to continue to pave these two streets or will it now become DeKalb County who is responsible for Miller Road and the part of Snapfinger Woods that’s still in unincorporated DeKalb.

    If the Mayor thinks this is an appropriate location, no matter what other positive things he has done to build up the city this one decision is disastrous.

    We cannot be so concerned about bringing in city revenue that we are willing to cause a health crisis for the hundreds of families that live here. For the mayor to state that if we don’t like it leave and as long as he is mayor this is how it’s going to be….. This should be a major wake up call for all of the residents of the City of Stonecrest. Today it’s a toxic business next to me, next month it could be that vacant land next to where you live. We should not be driven by wealth (income to the city) over Health (of our already stressed community).

    Reply

  • Concerned Citizens

    August 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    It is quite telling that the Stonecrest Mayor & Councilman Turner felt they had no need to inform their constituents of what was literally coming into their backyards. In 2018, we know Lary was in deep negotiations with Metro Green to bring a toxic site to a solidly residential BLACK area. He probably started in 2017, but he won’t admit it. Why wasn’t that ever brought to the community’s attention if this is such a great project? It was kept secret because Lary knew they community would be against it. This is not the first time Metro Green invaded a residential community with their toxic site. They didn’t take this to Alpharetta. They brought it to a Black residential community. It was intentional.

    Rob Turner admits he met with Metro Green in 2019, but never told his constituents! In fact, his constituents were told by Decatur residents what was being built in their backyards! What kind of Councilman is he?

    A lie is the omission of the truth. Lary, and his cronies, love to say that they were given that land already rezoned as Industrial. Well they omit the fact that Dekalb County also had very strict regulations on that land. What is occurring now could never have happened when that land was under Dekalb County. However, Stonecrest officials stripped EVERY RESTRICTION from that land as soon as they got hold to it. They are every bit to blame for this environmental racism. Lary is allowing a white owned corporation to dump toxins into our air. This is a fact. Jason Lary and the Stonecrest City Council have a moral obligation to the citizens of South Dekalb to STOP Metro Green. There are no compromises here. If they do not stop this toxic site from building in our community, then they most definitely are allowing environmental racism to happen to Black People. All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.

    Reply

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