by Montee Lopez

Applause filled City Hall on Tuesday after the Memphis City Council rejected plans to expand a landfill in Frayser.

The proposed expansion by Memphis Wrecking Company had been in works for more than a year – much to the annoyance of residents in the area near Thomas and Whitney.

The company had sought to expand the landfill by 30 acres. That space was deeply encroaching into land where Whitney Elementary School stands.

Blight Patrol
Declaring allegiance to Blight Patrol, opponents of the landfill expansion file into the City Council chamber. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)

Representatives of the company left the council meeting almost immediately after the decision was announced, without comment to the media.

Memphis Wrecking Company said space at the landfill will run out in two years.  Opposition to the proposal was almost instant. Residents cited possible negative effects the expansion would bring to the neighborhood, Whitney Elementary and a nearby park.

The Office of Planning and Development staff recommended rejection of the planned development needed for the project, and the Shelby County Schools board adopted a resolution opposing it.

Although the city has rejected the expansion in Frayser, the company still can explore other options, especially out east. But the company could face opposition in other locations as well.

“We do not want a landfill in Hickory Hill,” said the Rev. Stacy L. Spencer, pastor of the New Direction Christian Church in Hickory Hill.

“They do not have to get permission, but we do want to propose a Jackson Law, which requires permission before a landfill is established,” Spencer said.  “So we’re standing here in solidarity with Frayser to say ‘it’s not happening in Hickory Hill.”

Opponents of expanding a landfill in Frayser jumped to their feet when the City Council rejected the expansion request. (Photo: Johnathan Martin)