DeKalb legislators join push against Stonecrest recycling plant

Residents have seen construction happening at the Metro Green site.

Credit: Courtesy/Pyper Bunch

Credit: Courtesy/Pyper Bunch

Residents have seen construction happening at the Metro Green site.

DeKalb County legislators plan to formally register their opposition to a controversial concrete recycling plant that’s under construction in the city of Stonecrest.

Metro Green Recycling is already building its new facility on a 50-acre property near Snapfinger Woods Drive, a largely residential area of the predominantly Black city in south DeKalb. But Stonecrest officials sought a restraining order against the company in August, questioning the legality of a land disturbance permit issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie denied the city’s initial request. Her decision on a new motion for a restraining order could be weeks away.

Meanwhile, a group of residents worried about the environmental and health impacts of the project is trying to raise money to hire their own legal representation — and DeKalb County’s delegation to the state House of Representatives is getting more involved.

The delegation voted Tuesday to write a letter requesting the EPD withdraw Metro Green’s permit. The letter also offers support for DeKalb County’s solid waste management plan, which does not permit sanitation and recycling services by outside entities.

The EPD circumvented that policy when it gave Metro Green a permit, officials have suggested.

Several state legislators, including Sen. Emanuel Jones and Rep. Doreen Carter, had already jumped into the fray and helped lead opposition efforts. But the new letter will be backed by DeKalb’s full House delegation.

House members also plan to solicit the formal support of DeKalb’s state senators.

“This issue is not just about south DeKalb anymore, or east DeKalb,” Carter said Tuesday. “This is about DeKalb County, where a business wants to disregard the residents and invalidate a policy.”

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary and city staff initially signed off on the Metro Green project in 2018. It did not go through the City Council approval process because no zoning change was necessary.

New concerns were raised after construction started earlier this year, as residents started asking questions and City Council members learned about the potential conflict with DeKalb’s solid waste plan — a policy that was put in place, in part, to prevent the proliferation of landfills and facilities like Metro Green’s.

“This is not EPD’s first offense in my opinion,” said Rep. Karla Drenner, who proposed calling a press conference to discuss the issue. “I want to support my county, I want to support our constituents and I want to fuss about EPD and their reckless endangerment.”