Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Residents fill all the available chairs at Monday's Cornersville Town Hall meeting.

'There's no

guarantee that anything we're doing will hold up.'

-- Taylor Brandon

Cornersville City Administrator

They filled all the chairs in Cornersville Town Hall. Some took time out of their working day to pack into the meeting. And they came armed with questions.

The Cornersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a special meeting at noon Monday, expressly to adopt the Jackson Law.

The Jackson Law specifically prohibits a landfill within a mile of city limits. And now that it is on Cornersville's books, Waste Management will have to come through Cornersville to get a permit for its projected new landfill -- and "it will be denied," said Mayor Amos Davis.

The Jackson Law also prohibits a landfill within two miles of a public park, so Cornersville is quickly recording a park.

"There's no guarantee that anything we're doing will hold up," cautioned City Administrator Taylor Brandon.

"Why shouldn't it?" asked one of the crowd of 30 or so residents in attendance.

"Because they (Waste Management) have a stable of lawyers, deep pockets, lobbyists," answered Davis.

"The Jackson Law doesn't have the 'teeth' you can put in to zoning," added Brandon, but the site is not within Cornersville's city limits, so they cannot use zoning as a weapon.

The meeting was very short because it involved only the resolution regarding the Jackson Law. After it was adjourned the crowd stayed around for a general discussion. Giles Countians, worried about the impact of a landfill sited on the banks of a creek from which most of the County's drinking water is drawn, were also there. It is thought that since one boundary of the site is the Marshall-Giles county line, the Giles County Commissioners may have to approve the landfill as well.

Giles County is not a Waste Management customer. Their trash is carried off by the other major refuse company, BFI. Pulaski had a city dump, but it closed to garbage some years ago and is now just demolition landfill.

At Monday night's County Commission meeting, Lena and Marty Wright expressed what many Cornersville residents are feeling. The Wrights own land on Blue Creek Road. She said it's "ridiculous" to have a landfill near Cornersville. He said, "I can see the entire site" from their land.

"We live on a hill overlooking the entire site," Marty Wright said. "I don't want it at all."

Already petitions have been signed and Cornersville residents have thronged to recent meetings of the Planning Commission and the County Commission. Brandon and Davis cautioned them not to exhaust themselves too soon.

"We've got to be in it for the long haul," said Davis.

Brandon added, "This thing's going to move slow. It could take up to two years."

Perhaps he is wrong about that. Also Monday, Waste Management released a packet to the media that contained a map showing the properties it wants to buy, a copy of the letter to the Marshall County Solid Waste Committee requesting approval for the new landfill, and a timetable culminating in approval for the request at a County Commission meeting on May 27, 2008.