DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie has denied the City of Stonecrest’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order(TRO) to halt construction of the Metro Green Three recycling plant.
But in the Sept. 3 continuance hearing, Barrie also warned Metro Green that if it continued to build the plant, it would be doing so at its own risk.
“I’m denying this TRO at this juncture. So that means that the court is not going to stop you (Metro Green) from building, but you build under the concept that the city has made a strong argument. So, if you continue to build, you’re building under the understanding that the city’s argument is strong,” Barrie reiterated.
Barrie said she denied the city’s motion for the TRO namely because the city did not meet the burden of legally proving that residents would be harmed by the plant.
“I clearly understand that the residents are bothered by the fact that the facility is there…. Right now, the facility is not even in operations. And if they are not in operations, where is the harm coming from them just building the facility?” said Barrie, adding that the court could not act on the general assumption that property values and residents’ health would be harmed. “There is no operations right now.”
Much of the hearing on Thursday centered on testimony from DeKalb County Sanitation Director Tracy A. Hutchinson. The judge said Hutchinson had made it clear to Metro Green through emails that the county as the sole provider of solid waste and recycling services in DeKalb, would not allow any other entity to provide any of those services in DeKalb. Hutchinson testified that the county set up its Solid Waste Management Plan as a way to stop the proliferation of landfills and recycling plants in South DeKalb.
Barrie also denied the city’s request for a declaratory judgment concerning the state Environmental Protection Division’s(EPD) issuance of a permit for the plant because the EPD was not included in the city’s lawsuit.
“They have to be a part of these proceedings… I believe they are indispensible,” said Barrie. “The EPD has to be a part of this lawsuit and they are not at this juncture.”
Barrie said the city would have to make a determination on whether to include the EPD in the lawsuit.
Barrie ordered City Attorney Winston Denmark and Attorney Matt Benson, who is representing Metro Green, to “conference” and decide whether they wanted her to set a final hearing on the matter to be held in 21 days.
Barrie had stated at the hearing that she would provide her written ruling concerning the TRO following the hearing. However, the city said it had not received the document by Friday(Sept. 4) morning.