The Oconee County Planning Commission, after a hearing lasting nearly 90 minutes, voted 9-2 tonight to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that it approve a special use permit for construction of a materials recovery facility on agricultural land at 1441 Dials Mill Road.
Approximately 100 people turned out for the public hearing at the courthouse, with supporters outnumbering opponents.
Katie Garrett and brother Simon Garrett, representing the Garrett family, which is seeking the special use permit, argued that Harvest Recycling, a spinoff of the family’s Roll Off Systems waste hauling company, will provide a needed waste recovery facility in the county.
Opponents said that the extra traffic on Dials Mill Road will alter the rural nature of the road and that waste recovery is an inappropriate activity for the agricultural and residential area.
Commission members Maria Caudill and Bill Yarbrough were the two negative votes on the motion to recommend the project to the BOC, which is scheduled to take up the Garrett request on May 7.
Negative Staff, Positive NEGRC Reviews
The Oconee County Planning Staff reviewed the application critically and said tonight it did not recommend approval.
The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, in a report released today, found the project “in the best interest of the Region and therefore the State.”
The NEGRC Development of Regional Impact Finding did note that the land use is not in accordance with the county’s Future Development Map, which designates the area as Suburban Living.
The Garretts are seeking the special use permit as a first step in obtaining a permit from the Georgia Environment Protection Division to operate the materials recovery facility.
Traffic To Site To More Than Double
The Garretts, with Land Planner Ken Beall, who represented them tonight, said truck traffic will increase from the current 40 trips per day to the site to 100 if they are allowed to build the materials recovery facility.
In the documents the Garretts have released to the public, and tonight, they stated that they already are doing waste processing at the site to recover wood, gypsum, mulch, asphalt and aggregate from materials they haul to the site.
|Garrett House From Facility Location|
They propose to construct a building with an impermeable floor onto which they will dump a wider range of materials for sorting and recovery. They said tonight that household waste will be at least a part of what is dumped and sorted on the site.
Visit To Site Shows Activity
I visited the site on Saturday at the invitation of Simon Garrett and father Bernard Garrett and observed piles of ground materials and products waiting to be processed on the site.
The site also is being used at present to store dumpsters and portable toilets from the Roll Off Systems operation, located on nearby B. Garrett Road.
The Garretts showed me piles of trees limbs and other natural products that are being left to degrade naturally. They told me that this natural process was the beginning of their use of the 39-acre site for recycling.
Cattle also are grazing on the pastureland surrounding the proposed waste recovery facility, and Simon Garrett said on Saturday and again tonight he is living in a house that will be in close proximity to the proposed facility.