ALBANY, Ga. — After an extended discussion concerning the safety of the aftermath created by operating a surface mine borrow pit at the cleanup site of the former Merck Chemical plant at 1507 Liberty Expressway, the Dougherty County Commission voted to give Oxford Construction Co. approval to move forward with the process.
The request came because such operations are not typically allowed in an area zoned AG (agriculture).
“My primary concern is that we don’t create a problem with flooding for the people who live in that area,” District 2 Commissioner John Hayes said after noting a number of holding ponds already located near the proposed borrow pit. “If you’re certain we’re not putting residents in harm’s way ... well, that’s my concern.”
Bobby Darley, an engineer with Lanier Engineering Inc., said the property owner planned to make the 20-acre excavation site, from which dirt will be removed, into a lake that could be used for recreation purposes.
“Actually, you’re taking 20 acres that water would be draining from (in the event of heavy rains) and reducing the runoff by providing a place where the water will go,” Darley said.
Hayes asked Assistant County Public Works director Chucky Mathis for an assessment of risks involved with the plan.
“I don’t have the data available, but based on my experience, I’d have to agree with the engineer’s (Darley’s) assessment,” Mathis said.
The city/county Planning Commission recommended approval of the request with two conditions: That a 100-foot undisturbed buffer (75 feet more than the state requires) be maintained around the excavation site and that no work on the pit be conducted on Sundays.
The county also approved Jim Boyd Construction’s low bid ($138,719) for a shared sewer extension project that will benefit Southern Ag Carriers on Sylvester Road. Southern Ag officials told the board previously that the company had reached sewer capacity on its property and needed to increase capacity to meet planned expansion needs. The county’s share of the cost for the project is $60,000, which will come from Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax III sewer extension funds.
The county also:
- Approved an alcohol license for Cowboy Bill’s Bar at 4502 Sylvester Road;
- OK’d the reallocation of $400,000 in SPLOST funding to provide a local match for a roofing project at the Northwest Library branch.