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City votes against Frayser landfill expansion

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A landfill company that hoped to expand near a school in Frayser failed to win approval by City Council on Tuesday.

Memphis Wrecking Company asked for permission to add 34 acres to its landfill at Whitney Avenue and Thomas Street, which is used to dump demolition debris. The company withdrew plans a year ago after backlash from the community.

The company's owners say they are heavily regulated and do not take regular trash.

But the site is located within 300 yards of an elementary school, and the plan drew hundreds of letters and emails from the surrounding community in opposition.

City Council members voted unanimously against the expansion Tuesday. The plan had previously received a unanimous "no" vote from the Land Use Control Board.

Memphis wrecking company already has plans to relocate to Hickory Hill since they were denied in Frayser. If that doesn't work, they're considering Cordova.

People at the City Council meeting said they wont stand for another landfill in the city at all.

It was standing room only in the meeting.

A majority of protesters were wearing a green sticker that said "Vote no on landfill expansion. Stand with Frayser."

A sigh of relief came from many who live in the city after council members voted against the landfill's growth.

"A landfill should not be placed in city limits, we have so much vacant land in the county," said Deandre Brown, Executive Director of Lifeline of Success. "They want to put a landfill in Frayser but if you were to drive three minutes up the road on Thomas, you would find no opposition because there's nothing out there."

The land in Frayser isn't zoned for industrial property, which is why it had to come before City Council today.

"Their argument was they would be removing blight, but actually they would be bringing more blight in," said Brown.

"We are trying to build up Hickory Hill, and they're trying to bring in cancer and toxic that we do not want," said Dr. Stacy Spencer, Senior Pastor of New Direction Christian Church. "We have award-winning charter schools in Hickory Hill, we have businesses, citizens and families so we do not want to become a dumping ground."

We caught up with the owner of Memphis Wrecking Company, Steve Williamson, but he refused to comment about City Council's vote or his future plans.

City Council also voted to place a six month moratorium on permits for new landfills in the city.

Last week, Memphis Wrecking Company announced it is reviewing five other possible locations in Hickory Hill, Cordova and Raleigh. The Hickory Hill location would be on East Shelby Drive along Hickory Hill Road. The other locations were not released.

The company says it only has enough space in its current location to operate for another two years.