Rockdale considers car-crushing biz

CONYERS - A car-crushing business is one step closer to opening its doors along Dogwood Drive.

A second reading will be held at the end of the month by the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners that will allow on-site car crushing at an auto junkyard off Interstate 20.

Newell Recycling of East Point is seeking the special-use permit from the county so it can expand the business at its Dogwood Drive property. County planners have attached several conditions to the permit in an effort to limit the scope of operations and to improve landscaping on the property.

The site at 2314 Dogwood Drive on the east side of the county has operated as East Conyers Auto Salvage for about 25 years. Newell purchased the business in 2007 and will continue to sell used auto parts, but also plans to add metal recycling and car crushing.

The Board of Commissioners approved the first reading Tuesday and will hold a second reading May 27 before voting on the special-use permit request.

Several nearby business owners in the area have expressed concerns over allowing car crushing and metal recycling at the site as the request made its way through the county planning commission public hearings, said Marshall Walker, deputy director of the Rockdale County Department of Public Service and Engineering.

Most of those businesses are retail-based and the area is zoned for manufacturing uses, Walker said. Furthermore, Newell promised to clean up the site as part of the agreement for the special-use permit.

"Regardless of what we do, the fact remains there will still going to be a junkyard there," Commissioner Jason Hill said during a BOC work session Monday. "The question is, do you want it to stay the way it is now, or see improvements?"

Some neighbors said they had no opinion on the matter as long as Newell sticks to the conditions worked out for the special-use permit, Walker said.

The planning commission's recommendation for approval came with 12 conditions the company must follow to hold on to the permit, including an annual review at the time to renew the company's business license to ensure all conditions are met.

The conditions include requiring the business's owner to install an earthen berm fence and an 8-foot foliage blind around the property, demolish the current building and replace it with a new building. Further, all trucks owned by Newell are to be walled on four sides for hauling junked cars to and from the property.

Also as part of the conditions, Newell has agreed that its hours of operation will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com