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    Birds pose threat to transfer station

    NewsStrange but TrueThursday 23 February 2012
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    Plans for a waste transfer station to bring in household trash could be going to the birds.

    As a result of a Federal Aviation Administration study into the Bankhead C&D transfer station’s proximity to the Fulton County Airport at Charlie Brown Field, Cobb County’s planning department will more than likely change its recommendation, which is to allow the station to take in household trash in addition to construction and demolition waste, said Rob Hosack, Cobb community development director.

    Instead, staff would ask commissioners to reject the request.

    “The activity could potentially attract birds, and that’s a problem as it relates to FAA,” Hosack said. Birds could damage planes if they get into their flight paths.

    The county pulled agenda items from Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners zoning hearing that would allow the transfer station, located on Veterans Memorial Highway near the intersection with Discovery Boulevard, to rezone to heavy industrial and permit it to take in household waste in order to cooperate with the FAA investigation. It has been rescheduled until at least April. Cobb’s Planning Commission had recommended its approval at its December meeting.

    “We just wanted to make sure that we were following the law,” Hosack said. “We felt like we better stop and get it over to the airport manager over there ASAP,” Hosack said.

    Attorney Garvis Sams, who represents Bankhead C&D, said the study is required in order to take in municipal solid waste within 6,000 feet of the airport.

    Sams said that if approved, the Bankhead station would take in a total of 150,000 tons of waste annually. Before the bird issue came to light, the plan had already passed reviews with the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Atlanta Regional Commission, he said.

    Sams said the site, which has been in operation since 2004, has been taking in household trash since current owners bought it from Siskey Hauling Inc. in 2010. He said the previous owners received permission from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to take in additional waste, but failed to go through the process of adding accepting municipal solid waste to its existing land use permit.

    Because of the misunderstanding, Sams said the county has agreed to avoid enforcing rules on taking in municipal solid waste until the current permitting process is resolved.

    Sheila Edwards, a resident of the Legacy at Riverline subdivision, located just across Discovery Boulevard, said the transfer station is a problem and to allow its expansion would only make matters worse.

    “We’re constantly smelling things burning (and hearing) the constant noise from the trucks,” she said. “All of these things are assaults on our health.”

    Edwards said the problems caused by the transfer station have contributed to several nearby businesses closing.

    Sams said the owners of the 8.16-acre site have agreed to a number of stipulations to satisfy homeowners and others in the area, including making improvements around the Turner-Sewell Cemetery, building an enclosed processing facility with odor control systems and putting together a landscaping plan including Leland cypress tress, an eight-foot privacy fence and a noise abatement screen.

    The owners would also pay for a 150-foot deceleration lane for trucks, as well as sidewalks along Veterans Memorial Highway, Sams said. In addition, Bankhead would be responsible for picking up any debris on the road.

    Sams said that if the county does not allow the station to accept household waste, all those stipulations would be null and void.

    But for now, everyone is awaiting the results of the FAA’s study.

    “That could certainly color it differently,” Sams said.

    But even if the FAA shoots down plans for the station to accept household waste, Hosack said he doesn’t believe the waste facility presents a safety issue by taking in construction debris.

    “Actually, if it is, I’m sure they’ll tell us real quick,” he said

    Source: The Marietta Daily Journal 

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