Tuesday, October 3, 2023–8:13 a.m.
-Adam Carey, Rome News-Tribune-
This story is possible because of a news-sharing agreement with the Rome News-Tribune. More information can be found at northwestgeorgianews.com
A group of residents whose homes are adjacent to Bordeau Metals’ recycling operation on The Trail again raised concerns to the Development Authority of Floyd County about sound and quality of life issues.
Most of the concerns were regarding noise coming from the recycling operation, often as early as 6 a.m. according to some residents.
“We have to live with the unbearable noise,” resident Terry Clift told the authority board at their meeting Monday. “From dawn to dusk, it doesn’t stop.”
Residents recently hired local attorney John Scott Husser Sr. to represent them in the dispute. Husser spoke with some of his new clients after the meeting to express disbelief at the amount of noise coming from the site.
“These are your homes,” Husser said. “You should not have to suffer in this situation.”
Development Authority of Floyd County Chairman Ryan Earnest told residents that because of impending litigation with Bordeau, no one at the authority could comment on the situation.
“But just because we can’t comment on this, that doesn’t mean we don’t hear you,” he said.
Bordeau Metals and the authority are enmeshed in a legal skirmish about Bordeau’s recycling operations on Enterprise Drive near F&P Georgia Manufacturing off Booze Mountain Road.
Residents stated that deed restrictions put in place when Bordeau purchased the property specifically limited his use of the property to the recycling of metal from Georgia Power’s Plant Hammond.
“Who is responsible for enforcing the deed restrictions?,” The Trail resident Bill Adams said. “Will no one take ownership of this?”
Those deed restrictions are one of the central factors of contention in a lawsuit filed by Bordeau Metals in early September.
Road to litigation
Bordeau Metals originally purchased the site from the Development Authority of Floyd County for the purpose of recycling metal from the demolition of Plant Hammond, a decommissioned coal-fired power plant in Coosa.
The company was a subcontractor on the job and purchased the property on Enterprise Drive in the Floyd County Industrial Park for $459,153.35 from the authority. The project was expected to last five years, after which time the development authority had first rights to purchase back the cleared, leveled, and pad-ready property.
However, noise from the site prompted nearby residents to complain that the cacophony was unbearable. Several residents approached Floyd County Commissioners on numerous occasions asking for a remedy to the situation.
In January, county commissioners indicated to residents that the county was powerless to stop the noise and that the company was well within its rights to conduct business on the site.
Eventually, Georgia Power directed the lead contractor, Brandenburg, to stop sending materials to Bordeau on Feb. 3, effectively terminating Bordeau’s contract.
Bordeau contends that members of the county government and commission approached Georgia Power to terminate the contract.
At the time, residents were optimistic that work at the site had finished and many thanked the county commissioners and Georgia Power for reaching a resolution to the problem.
It wasn’t resolved. In a call with the Rome News-Tribune, Bordeau said he would turn the site into a scrap yard if the county did not buy back the 18-acre property. Bordeau then moved forward with that plan and, in May, sent a letter of intent to sue stating commissioners caused the company to lose approximately $28 million.
As the road to a lawsuit continued, the company made moves to show that it didn’t have any plans to drop its Floyd County operations. Bordeau began bringing in scrap from locations regionally and held a ribbon cutting for the business on Aug. 21. It also ran several full page ads in the Rome News-Tribune as well as sponsoring portions of the upcoming Coosa Valley Fair.
On Aug. 24, the authority sent what amounts to a cease and desist letter to Bordeau concerning the scrap operations. One week later, the company filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Rome seeking $28 million in damages.