VOL. 131 | NO. 142 | Monday, July 18, 2016
Frayser Landfill Owner Pulls Expansion Application, But Plans to Return
By Madeline Faber
Amid public opposition, Memphis Wrecking Co. has withdrawn its application to expand its landfill near Whitney Elementary School in Frayser. This is the second consecutive time the company withdrawn its application with the Land Use Control Board before the board could consider the request.
Memphis Wrecking’s decision is a temporary win for nonprofits Neighborhood Preservation Inc. and Girls Inc., who work in the Frayser area, as well as the Achievement School District, which operates Whitney Elementary. The groups actively campaigned against the expansion, which would extend the construction-waste landfill up to the south side of Whitney Road.
At a recent neighborhood meeting hosted by Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd, residents and community leaders expressed concerns about the spread of blight. While the landfill does not pose a health hazard because it is only approved to hold construction waste, such as unusable concrete, neighbors believe it is a negative influence on students next door.
In a memo, Neighborhood Preservation, a blight-fighting nonprofit led by Steve Barlow and Archie Willis, said, “This is great news for the Frayser community and particularly the children of Whitney Elementary School.”
Neighborhood Preservation was prepared to speak in opposition to the expansion at the LUCB meeting, citing that the application would adversely impact all of the surrounding neighbors and their property values. Additionally, the grading and elevation of the site would make it unusable for significant projects if Memphis Wrecking Co. decided to abandon the property in the future.
“The proposed expanded use is not compatible with any of the surrounding uses, especially the residential and institutional,” the memo from Neighborhood Preservation stated.
But Memphis Wrecking Co.’s withdrawal is only temporary. Brenda Solomito-Basar, Memphis Wrecking’s representative, said that they will return before the LUCB in six months with “a better plan.”
The plan that was meant to go before the LUCB at its July 14 meeting was adapted from an earlier plan withdrawn in June 2015.
“We lowered the height, increased the landscaping, modified some of the uses and preserved the existing residence that is there now,” Solomito-Basar said.
In recent weeks, the property owner installed fencing and landscaping at the site.
“There were a number of things that were done which gained a lot of support, but there was still a lot of objection so we didn’t want to pursue this knowing there was negativity,” she said.