The Cobb County Planning Commission this morning unanimously rejected an application for a special land-use permit allowing Marietta Recycling to operate a metal scrap yard and transfer station on Canton Road next to the complex.
The 5-0 vote against the application, formally made by Snapfinger Properties, means Marietta Recycling has 120 days to cease the operations at the site, which used to be Hope Lumber.
Marietta Recycling had been placed on notice that it was violating code without the special use permit, and the enforcement was suspended until the Planning Commission acted, code enforcement officer Kim Wakefield told the commission.
The , and several turned out today to oppose the application.
"We feel the application is not appropriate to the location. We acknowledge the value of the recycling and to our economy,” said Carol Brown, chairwoman and co-founder of Canton Road Neighbors, an association of subdivisions in the community. “It's a junk yard that doesn't belong next door to a sports complex or across from anyone's home."
In urging denial of the application, East Cobb Civic Association President Jill Flamm expressed concerned about noise and pollutants. "Canton Road has been experiencing a very positive revitalization. This facility will not help with this effort and will not improve the property values.”
East Cobb Baseball attorney, board member and coach David Allen Roberts offered the same concerns and said his organization worries that a scrap yard next door would hurt its business, which he said has a $16 million annual economic impact on Cobb County and Georgia. “We are a self-sustaining organization. We host thousands of competitive baseball teams from across the country who come to some of the largest youth baseball events held in the country. It is imperative for our very existence that we provide a clean, safe and attractive destination for all of these teams."
When the facility operates it sounds like thunder rolling in from Canton Road, Roberts said.
Jim Smith, who lives in a subdivision near the facility, said: "They've shown contempt of Cobb County regulations by operating the facility up here without a land-use permit. Most important, once land is used for a facility like this, it is environmentally contaminated. It is a waste site. Runoff goes into residential subdivisions and Lake Allatoona. It will affect Cobb and Cherokee counties. We do not want this. It needs to be in a heavy industrial area with a significant buffer."
Snapfinger Properties attorney Garvis L. Sams Jr. said the Marietta Recycling property is zoned for heavy industry, as is the East Cobb Baseball complex.
"Buildings already exist. They're not adding buildings or infrastructure. Two cranes are on the property. There are rail and trucks scales. These are the only improvements added to property," he said.
Sams said the facility would produce less traffic than the former lumber yard by using the rail lines and would promote sustainability and recycling by scrapping 1,500 to 2,000 tons of metal a month.
The plan called for eight to 10 trucks to arrive each weekday between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., with additional operations but no truck traffic Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
But Planning Commission member Christi Trombetti, who represents the district and whose son plays East Cobb Baseball, said the transfer station is not a good fit for the community.
"The transfer station is needed, but I'm uncomfortable supporting it for this location. I don't see any room for them to grow and expand,” she said. “If we open the door, even with the proposed 15 stipulations, they will be successful and want to expand. There's simply not room to do that and provide the buffer needed."
Trombetti wants to encourage light industrial uses that are compatible with Canton Road.
She also said she regrets the commission did not look at the land use plan for the area last year. She asked that the commission give it "a microscale analysis before December."
The Planning Commission recommended denying the Marietta Recycling application by a 5-0 vote. It is up to the Board of Commissioners to vote it up or down, which will occur on Tuesday, May 17.