A company planning a transfer station in Statham filed an “amended” application for a grading permit Dec. 20, but the mayor said a permit would be issued only if a judge compels him to grant it.
Roll-Off Systems, a waste management company, filed for the permit with Statham’s planning and zoning office.
Douglas Dillard, attorney with Pursley Friese Torgrimson, an Atlanta firm, filed the packet of information seeking the permit.
Statham Mayor Robert Bridges said last week when the city council unanimously voted at its May 19, 2015, meeting “to approve the transfer station in Statham Industrial Park,” the council did not have all the information it needed.
“I think the vote was just to move ahead,” Bridges said.
Statham issued a “timber harvesting permit” May 26, 2015, to the company for a “transfer station,” the firm’s application said.
He said the city issued a permit “and then I repealed it based on the information that they did not disclose.”
City attorney Thomas Mitchell said by email the city’s building official has the “authority to revoke or suspend a permit issued in error or on the basis of incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information.”
Bridges said zoning for the industrial park and covenants on the property in the park would preclude a transfer station from being built.
He said the company did not disclose the existence of the covenants, which go with each piece of property.
Mitchell said the company’s failure to mention the covenants in the industrial park at the initial presentation is “an important omission from the city’s perspective.”
The issue is “sure” to end up in court, Bridges said. The city will “fight it,” he said.
Dillard was off work this week and did not respond to a phone call Tuesday. Simon Garrett, who is listed as the applicant for Roll Off Systems’ permit was out of the office and did not respond to a call to his cell phone.
A property owner in the park, Robert Wall, who owns Cable East, a fiber optic company, told council at its December work session and regular meeting that he appreciates its latest stance on the issue.
He also said he has retained an attorney to represent him.
Wall said the zoning of M-1 for the industrial park does not allow a transfer station in the park. He also raised the question of covenants for the park.
Roll-Off Systems said in its application that it has spent $295,000 on the project “in substantial reliance on assurance by local officials.”
The company bought the property, which is more than seven acres.
The city council voted in March “unbeknownst to the applicant” to “amend the Statham City Code to remove ‘transfer station’ use as a permitted use from the zoning ordinance.”
The application for the grading permit includes a timeline of events from the company’s view.
The first listing is for April-May 2015 and says, “Prior to the applicants’ purchase of the property, the applicant met with Mayor Bridges and Mr. (Randy) Gordon on several occasions to discuss using the property as a transfer station. The mayor and Mr. Gordon were supportive of the use.”
The timeline also refers in several dates to contacts with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and with the Federal Environmental Management Agency.
The beginning of the amended application says the company is responding to comments the city made on Nov. 22. One comment is that “all reference to the transfer station in verbiage and/or design must be removed from plans before permit is issued.”
The company responded that it has “a vested right to use its property for a transfer station.
It added, “Although the Statham zoning code has changed, the applicant has acquired a vested right under Georgia law to use its property for a transfer station and therefore the site development permit necessary to prepare the land for such lawful purpose must be issued.”