A local community group wants a recycling center and solid waste facility to move because they say it is negatively impacting the quality of life for people who live near it.
A petition drive calling for Liberty Roll Offs to move from its current location is the No. 1 option the group is aiming for, after they say the company did not make changes to improve the odor, noise or dust, despite being ordered to do so by the Brunswick City Commission.
The Rev. Jeffery Muchison, moderator of the Magnolia Park/College Park Neighborhood Planning Assembly, said the group met April 13 to discuss the action.
“We’re in the planning stages for a petition drive to get them out of that location (5032 Habersham St.),” Muchison said. “Residents are not satisfied with the changes the (Brunswick) city commission ordered them to make. They say they still have the odor, the noise, the rodents and the dust.”
The commission in February granted Liberty Roll-Offs a three-month extension to May 3 to complete the remaining stipulations the commission attached last year to the approval of a conditional use permit for expansion of the 36.52-acre facility.
The company met stipulations to be in substantial compliance with a June 2016 development concept plan that included increasing deodorizing cycles and daily wash-downs of the municipal solid waste transfer area.
Bren White-Daiss, the city’s director of planning and codes, said recently that Liberty completed the dust control irrigation system around the end of January and that stipulations for an earth berm and a new sorting line were given an extension to be completed by May 3.
White-Daiss confirmed that Liberty Roll-Offs completed all of its required mitigation efforts the week of April 10 and hired an independent engineer to go out and evaluate their work. She expects to receive a report from the engineer next week.
“I also attended the Magnolia Park/College Park NPA meeting (recently) and, since these mitigation efforts were just completed, asked the surrounding residents to evaluate if they notice an improvement from now on,” White-Daiss stated. “If there is no improvement, the city will reach out to the Health Department and the Environmental Protection Division to see if there are other solutions to the problems in that neighborhood.”
According to Muchison, residents were upset when they found out that the city commission gave Liberty Roll Offs an extension. He added that the group now is putting together documentation on the complaints that have been made to the city commission.
“Our steering committee is preparing to go to the Environmental Protection Agency, and we’re going to get as many signatures as we possibly can,” Muchison said. “We are targeting the entire Magnolia subdivision.”
Devant Wainright, general manager at Liberty Roll-Offs responded: “Liberty Roll-Offs has been in business since 2002 and operating in its current location since 2008 on property that was properly zoned as industrial when acquired by Liberty. In addition, we also hold all proper permits and meet all federal, state and local requirements set by the Environmental Protection Division as well as other governing agencies. Liberty offers a locally-owned option for recycling and waste disposal, while employing nearly 50 people. We consider this a positive contribution to the community. We are a family owned-operated business, operating on privately- owned land with goals to provide a needed service to the area, provide a place of employment for many families and to do so with a desire to be good neighbors within the community in which we ourselves as owners, operators and employees live. Liberty agreed to and completed concessions and changes above and beyond what is required, in an effort to be the best neighbors we can be. Even though Liberty disagrees that we are the source of the perceived problems expressed by a few of our neighbors, we are proud to be both members and servants of our community.”
Muchison said a Liberty representative attended some of their meetings and so has Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey, the city engineer and commissioners.
Glynn County Commissioner Allen Booker, Brunswick city commissioners Felicia Harris and Vincent Williams have also attended neighborhood meetings.
Harris said the residents are exploring their options and discussed various ideas regarding the issues with Liberty Roll-Offs
“It’s their right and their decision to pursue whatever best represents their welfare,” Harris said via email. “As commissioner, it is my responsibility to act in accordance with what best serves the future of the City of Brunswick and the sustainability of a quality life for our citizens.”
Booker lives on Pinewood Drive the street behind the recycling plant. He said he and his family are negatively impacted by the recycling center.
He believes the neighborhood has a shot at making the company move to a new location.
“We have plenty of land for Liberty to relocate out of the residential area,” Booker said. “I live on the street behind the plant. My mother cannot sit on the porch. (The plant) is something that should not be in a residential area. We have no problem with the company, it’s just the location. We’re not going to stop.”