The scrap metal yard, located on Roseberry Road which had become a thorn in the side of local residents living near it, has been declared a public nuisance and ordered to close by the Newton County Superior Court.
An interlocutory order from Judge Eugene Benton, signed last Friday, ordered Jay's Recycling to cease and desist its operations immediately. Following the judge's order, Jay's Recycling owner James Sharpshair began removing the large piles of scrap metal which could be seen three weeks ago towering above the ground.
By Wednesday afternoon, the majority of the scrap metal had already been removed leaving behind large swaths of reddish dirt and a peacefulness which had been missing on Roseberry Road in the 15 months since Jay's Recycling set up shop.
According to the order, Sharpshair and his co-defendant, Wayne Maloney who owns the land used for by Jay's Recycling, have been prohibited from "any and all recycling, scrap metal or junkyard business including but not limited to purchasing, storing, crushing, piling, processing and transporting scrap metals, old cars, appliances and other commodities from, to and at 59 and 83 Roseberry Road."
Residents along Roseberry Road, who had petitioned the Newton County Board of Commissioners to intervene in the operation of the scrap yard, were elated by the order.
"We're just very excited. We're very pleased with the judge's decision. We feel like justice has been served," said Roseberry Road resident Paul Autry. "Everyone on Roseberry Road is breathing a sign of relief that this has ended."
Whether or not Sharpshair or Maloney will decide to appeal the order is unclear. Michael Waters, attorney for Maloney, speculated that it was a possibility.
Bob Stansfield, attorney for Sharpshair, said he was still reviewing the order with Maloney and had no comment on the possibility of an appeal.
The court order found that the county presented convincing proof to a reasonable degree of certainty that the scrap yard constituted a substantial threat to residents of Newton County and was a public nuisance because it damaged all persons who came within the sphere of its operation.
"The operation causes the loss of quiet enjoyment because of the excessive noise," reads the order. "The dust and fumes that spread to the neighboring area through the air creates hazards for all who come into contact with said dust and fumes thereby rendering enjoyment of life and property uncomfortable."
The order found that the defendants presented no valid evidence to show continual operation of a scrap yard on the property since 1987.
Lawyers for Sharpshair and Maloney had largely rested their defense on trying to prove that there had been a scrap metal yard in continual operation on the Maloney property since the 1960s, therefore qualifying the property to be grandfathered into the county's new zoning ordinance which would otherwise have prohibited the operation of a scrap yard in a residential area.
The order also found that Jay's Recycling had enlarged the use of the property to cover more land than what was previously occupied by the Maloney Machine Shop, something which is not allowed under a non-conforming use such as what the defense was claiming the property constituted.