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November 15, 2012

Stench from Ga. landfill raises zoning concerns

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — The stench emanating from a Hall County landfill owned by Gov. Nathan Deal’s business partner has led neighbors and county officials to question whether the site is following its zoning rules.

The landfill, owned by Ken Cronan and adjacent to an auto salvage business he co-owns with Deal, had been composting food waste although at least one county commissioner says the site was never authorized to do so despite obtaining state permits, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (

The landfill in Gainesville, about 55 miles north of Atlanta, was originally zoned to accept construction and demolition-related materials, the newspaper said. In addition, the Hall County Commission in 2007 turned down a request by Cronan to build a solid waste transfer station on the property.

Earlier this year, Cronan received state permits to allow the site to begin a composting operation and accept food waste. In a letter to state environmental officials a year ago, County Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said the proposed composting facility “complies with local zoning and land use ordinances.”

Yet Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell, who represents the district, told the newspaper the county never approved those changes.

County staff “are in the active process of reviewing the site in question to determine exactly what activities are taking place at this location,” spokeswoman Katie Crumley said in an email to the newspaper.

Oliver did not immediately return a call by The Associated Press on Wednesday. The newspaper said Cronan could not be reached for comment, and Deal’s spokesman has said the governor’s businesses are in a blind trust and that the governor has nothing to do with the day-to-day operations.

Deal and Cronan had worked for years to win state approval for the landfill. The partners bought the property in 2002, with Cronan assuming “full ownership” in 2003, according to the governor’s staff. Deal was listed as an officer in the landfill business as recently as 2007, but in 2008 Cronan amended the records to remove Deal’s name, the newspaper said.


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,


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