Smyrna residents say the city kept them in the dark about trash center
by Nikki Wiley
August 10, 2013 11:57 PM | 4962 views | 9 9 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Angela Ellis and her Lake Court neighbors wear blue X’s to represent a fictional city ‘Ward X,’ in Smyrna. The group says they were purposely not informed about the decision to put a recycling center in their neighborhood. They say the city intentionally did not provide an address for the property and listed it as being in Ward X, which does not exist in Smyrna, where city wards are numbered one through four. Standing with Ellis, from left, are her husband, R. Park Ellis Jr., and their daughter, Sophia, Arron and Amanda Thomas, Michelle Baxter and her children, P.J. and Alexis, Anna Rider, Rose Marie McLeod, Emily Hein and her children, Westen and Wyatt, Pete Ryder and his grandson, Hudson, Jody Wasinger and her children, Mackenzie and Ashton, and Amy Gardner Rackel and her husband, Trent, and their son, Silas.
Angela Ellis and her Lake Court neighbors wear blue X’s to represent a fictional city ‘Ward X,’ in Smyrna. The group says they were purposely not informed about the decision to put a recycling center in their neighborhood. They say the city intentionally did not provide an address for the property and listed it as being in Ward X, which does not exist in Smyrna, where city wards are numbered one through four. Standing with Ellis, from left, are her husband, R. Park Ellis Jr., and their daughter, Sophia, Arron and Amanda Thomas, Michelle Baxter and her children, P.J. and Alexis, Anna Rider, Rose Marie McLeod, Emily Hein and her children, Westen and Wyatt, Pete Ryder and his grandson, Hudson, Jody Wasinger and her children, Mackenzie and Ashton, and Amy Gardner Rackel and her husband, Trent, and their son, Silas.
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SMYRNA — Some residents of a South Cobb Drive neighborhood claim they were intentionally kept uninformed about the city’s decision to put a trash recycling center in their community.

Smyrna City Council voted unanimously at its July 15 meeting to purchase the property formerly operated by Lance Oil Company for $435,000 with special purpose local option sales tax funding to build a recycling center.

Angela Ellis, who lives behind the property, says she didn’t know about the plan because the council meeting’s agenda did not list an address for the proposed site.

“Nobody knew that this was happening,” Ellis said. “The neighborhood did not have a chance to voice our concerns.”

She’s concerned about the potential for an increase in traffic. The new center will be about half a mile off of South Cobb Drive near Concord Road, but Ellis says residents attempting a left turn on the six-lane highway will opt for a shortcut through her neighborhood.

The sights, noises and smells associated with a recycling center also have her worried.

“We would prefer the soundtrack of our children’s upbringing not be breaking beer bottles in the backyard,” Ellis said.

Councilman Corkey Welch, who represents the area on the council, says there’s a need for a new recycling center because the existing one is too small and difficult to drive around.

The existing recycling center is typically manned by one person and includes about eight trash bins.

“We just need something a little larger with better access,” Welch said.

The property was previously operated as a gas-distribution facility, he said, and the new use should be “less bothersome.”

But Pete Ryder, another nearby resident, disagrees.

“You never saw any traffic coming in and out of there,” said Ryder, who has lived a little more than a half a mile from the site for the last seven years.

The oil company kept to themselves, he said, and selected that location decades ago. More homes and businesses have popped up in the surrounding area and it’s not an appropriate location for what the city has planned, he said.

“It’s not even like it’s a commercial business,” Ryder said. “It’s not like it’s a coffee shop. It’s a dump.”

Welch said he has received one complaint and plans to meet with concerned residents at the site, at 3475A Lake Drive, Smyrna, at 7 p.m. Wednesday for a tour.

He doesn’t think it will have a negative impact on the neighborhood.

“The facility that we’ve got now has been there for many, many years,” Welch said. “It’s very clean. It’s well kept.”

A nearby building will be converted into an office for Keep Smyrna Beautiful employees, he said, providing a buffer between the recycling center and adjacent homes.

Still, Ellis and Ryder maintain they were purposely not informed.

“We should have been notified by our councilman. Our councilman should have been representing us,” Ellis said. “It’s almost like, ‘Let’s just do this and nobody will be the wiser. Too bad if you have a problem with it.’

“Corky Welch sponsored this legislation to put garbage in his own constituents’ backyards.”

Comments
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former supporter
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August 13, 2013
Mr. Welch has lost the support of my family and my neighbors over this issue. This was a deliberate attempt to keep those of us who live nearby uninformed regarding this decision. South Cobb is already a dump and he has made sure it will stay that way. Thanks for making where I live even trashier. I am a very disgusted resident and voter.
smart Max
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August 13, 2013
Max is so smart. He created this silly HOA distraction so nobody would hear about this acquisition and ask, "SPLOST dollars were used. Hmm. Which SPLOST does this land purchase for a recycling center qualify under, the transportation T-SPLOST or education E-SPLOST ?"

Well Max I ain't falling for it. I say if you don't want to live in a dump, you don't live in either of Smyrna or an HOA.

So, Max, Which SPLOST does this qualify under, transportation or education?
Citizen X
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August 12, 2013
I bet the mayor and city council are hoping we all forgot about Georgia's "Sunshine Laws".
Robert M
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August 11, 2013
Boy! Max and his cronies sure didn't make this easy. So much for transparent government. It took me quite a while find it, but Ellis was right. Check it out.

Smyrnacity.legistar.com

Be sure that you have the tab for agenda item up

Search : Recycling Center (This year in the time box) (All types marked in the next drop down)

Click the link under file ID (The numbers 2013-271)

Click the Issue description tag

There you have it… The ward that is listed as being impacted is WARD X Smyrna’s wards are listed numerically 1-7. We live in ward 4. The file was created on 7/12 for the meeting 7/15. They were never supposed to know until it was too late.

Smart lady.

SC Observer
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August 11, 2013
Typical dysfunction in Smyrna.

I've e-mailed and also left voice mails for Smyrna council members. Not one, including Councilman Welch have ever bothered to respond.

Songbird 79
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August 11, 2013
I know this place. It is right across the street from a playground and dog park. Great bocce court. Why would they want to put dumpsters there? That's just ridiculous. Our tax dollars at work.
dustoff
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August 11, 2013
This is exactly why some people that live in Cobb County are strongly in favor of the Neighborhood Notification Initiative.

This kind of under the table, behind closed doors decision making goes on all the time. If you believe that your elected official has your best interest at heart, then you really need to wake up and smell the roses.

Any elected official will do whats best for their future. You can be sure none of the politicos in Smyrna live any where near this site.

We as home and business owners should have some say in what will or will not be built near us, especially if it has a monetary impact on our property, our fate should not rest in the hands of an elected official that could care less about us.

The NNI proposal has been brought before the Cobb County Board of Commissioners and it seems that JoAnn Birrell and Bob Ott are adamantly against homeowners having any part of the zoning or rezoning process. They cite the cost as their main reasoning, but cannot document any proof.

It works all over this country and quite a few major cities have it in place and use it for the betterment of their communities.

But not here in Cobb, we have the good old boy system.
anonymous
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August 11, 2013
Well of course they kept residents in the dark--otherwise their noisy opposition might have perturbed the politicians a bit. I have little sympathy for these residents, though. Voters in Smyrna keep re-electing Boss Hog Bacon and his henchmen election after election. One of the hard facts of life is that when it comes to elected officials,we pretty much get what we deserve!
as with everything
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August 11, 2013
As with everything the government does that is shady...just follow the money...come on MDJ, do some investigative reporting for a change and follow the money trail to the council.
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