Photo by Lexi Coon.
After working with Buffalo Rock for nearly a year and a half to resolve the issues with noise and odor that West Homewood residents have been facing, the Special Issues Committee again met with Katherine Bazemore of Volatile Analysis to discuss what progress has been made.
Bazemore said Buffalo Rock has changed the carbon bed in their facilities, which addresses the continual odor problem, but added that if the system is not under negative pressure when something is changed, there can be times when the compounds that cause the odor can be released. Recently there have been complaints of odor in the community, although it is not constant.
"It is clear that if their system is ever opened, and they're not under negative pressure, you can certainly get that aroma," she said, adding that the company has been doing "multiple things to make adjustments in that regard." Bazemore continued, saying they are looking for a definitive schedule of maintenance to determine if there are times that aren't listed where residents are still aware of the odor. She also said that Buffalo Rock recently started additional testing and sampling protocol training, and was recently told they have completed their negative pressure system.
"I have seen a true effort by Buffalo Rock to be working on what they understand they’re supposed to do," Bazemore said. Currently, they're working to "tie down time tables," she continued, which would help write an ordinance to hold Buffalo Rock accountable to future odors.
Committee members were also concerned with the noise coming from the facilities, which Ward 2 Representative Andrew Wolverton described as a "constant vibration and sound." "That one is constant, and I don't feel like we've made any progress on that end," he said. Ward 5 Representative Peter Wright agreed, suggesting the use of a decibel gun, and members said that something needed to be done to monitor the noise levels.
The Special Issues Committee also spoke with Daniel Main with Bacon Construction, one of the companies working on the future BarTaco restaurant space at Edgewood Station. To build the outdoor seating area for the restaurant BarTaco, Bacon Construction requested designating 12 parkings spaces as a construction zone for about three months.
After meeting with committee members two weeks prior, Main spoke with business owners adjacent to the property and Dawson Church regarding possible Edgewood parking accommodations. Dawson said shoppers could use church parking all days except Saturdays, Sundays and after 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, which local tenants and committee members said coincide with busy days for stores and restaurants.
The distance from the shops was also a concern. "They [the customers] want to be able to come park closer to the building," said Anastasia Nealy with Saw's BBQ. "We want y'all to do what y'all gotta do, but if it's coming to us losing our business too, that's not fair to us either."
Other ideas were discussed, and in the end Ward 3 Representative Patrick McClusky suggested finishing the service station parking lot prior to beginning construction and temporarily trading 12 of those easterly spaces with the city to accommodate for the loss of the 12 spots for the Bar Taco construction.
"Nothing would make me happier, I just don't know what the timing of that is," said Michael Murray, developer of Edgewood Station. Murray said he can't guarantee that he can do that, but he is willing to speak with the involved parties. "That is the issue, and that is the problem fixer," said McClusky. Ward 4 Representative Barry Smith added signage will need to be added to prevent construction vehicles from taking up customer parking.