The East Georgia Land & Development Company will move forward with its plan to construct a private landfill and sue Newton County for damages related to a legal battle waged for more than 17 years.
The announcement came Wednesday just hours before the Board of Commissioners voted to "eliminate from consideration" Green Hill P3 as part of a tripartite agreement with East Georgia, days after Green Hill pulled the proposal.
East Georgia has fought the county since 1997 for the necessary compliance letters needed to apply to build a landfill on approximately 424-427 acres it purchased next to the public landfill on Lower River Road. In October, 2014, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in East Georgia's favor.
Jim Baker, head of East Georgia, provided The News with copies of letters sent to Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis and Newton County's legal counsel Wednesday informing the county of East Georgia's intentions:
"...Newton County Attorney Tommy Craig negotiated with Green Hill and a structure and proposed agreement was negotiated; county attorney Tommy Craig stated this negotiated arrangement would be recommended to the Newton County Board of Commissioners. Notwithstanding the intensive and expensive negotiations, East Georgia has received information in the past six days, that the Newton County Board of Commissioners intends to explore other options, and that as a result, Green Hill has withdrawn its proposal."
"As a result of Green Hill's apparent withdrawal of its proposal in light of the Newton County Board of Commissioners intention to pursue some alternative option, East Georgia needs to obtain the compliance letter mandated by Judge Ozburns' ruling and committed by Newton County attorney Tommy Craig."
East Georgia is demanding that Newton County hand over the compliance letter ordered by the judge in 2013. This letter should be handed over by July 10, 2015, or East Georgia will make the necessary motions to seek compulsion of compliance and possible sanctions, according to the letter sent to the county's attorneys.
East Georgia also demands a letter stating that East Georgia's use of its property as a sanitary landfill is not contrary to any validly adopted multijurisdictional solid waste plan in effect on June 25, 1997 (when East Georgia first sought a letter of compliance).
The letter claims that the county has delayed or refused to issue the compliance letters, and as a result, "the period during which East Georgia may recover damages on its filed inverse condemnation claims is being extended."
In his letter to Ellis, Baker said that since Green Hill P3 has withdrawn its proposal, East Georgia "plans to move forward with its claims for money, damages and other relief."
"We are highly disappointed that the settlement agreement which the County, East Georgia, and Green Hill P3, LLLP worked hard to consummate during the past 12 months has failed," the letter read. "I am hopeful that these letters can be useful to us to potentially eliminate the need for further litigation. However, East Georgia will pursue its landfill endeavors just as it has for the past 18 years."