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City won't fund another noise study

COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council has decided not to spend additional funds on noise testing in the residential area near Oconee Metal Recovery.

The council previously agreed to spend up to an additional $4,000 to fund another noise study near the site. The city had already spent $6,518.60 for a noise and vibration study that concluded that the business is in compliance with the city ordinance and does not constitute a public nuisance.

But bids received for the additional study exceeded the $10,000 cap, with the lowest coming in at $4,900 and the highest at $12,100. The council unanimously agreed not to spend additional money on another study at its July 16 meeting. Council members Mike Whatley and Janet Goodman were absent.

Citizens living in the area say that since Oconee Metal added a shredder to destroy cars, the noise level has increased to become bothersome, and some even claim that their homes and decks have cracks in them, allegedly from the vibrations coming from the facility.

The council also passed the first reading of an ordinance regulating future recycling collection centers locating within the city. The ordinance will allow recycling collection centers to be located in light and heavy industrial zoned areas by right. Those centers are defined as collection points for recyclable materials like household plastics, glass, paper and aluminum, where materials are collected and/or sorted prior to delivery to a permanent disposal site or other site for dismantling, grinding, shredding, reuse or processing into new products.

However, recyclable material merchant wholesalers will be required to receive a special use permit to locate in a light industrial zoned area.

The new section addressing these operations requires a five acre minimum lot size; prohibits locating adjacent to or across the street from any property used or zoned for residential use; restricts hours to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; requires that lighting be directed away from adjacent properties; and requires a 50-foot wide undisturbed buffer against all adjoining properties and an 8 foot high opaque masonry wall along road frontage.

The city currently has three such operations -- two on Washington Street and one on Green Street. All existing legally operating facilities will be grandfathered and not subject to the new requirements.

The final reading of the ordinance is set to take place at the council's Aug. 6 meeting.

In other news, the council approved the millage rate of 8.2 mils for fiscal year 2013. The millage rate has remained unchanged for the past five years. The council approved an approximately $124 million budget in June.