DeKalb County, GA — A DeKalb County Commissioner has joined with the South River Watershed Alliance and a member of an advisory committee overseeing the construction of a police training center to seek a restraining order to stop construction on the site.
The Atlanta Police Foundation is constructing an 85-acre police/fire training facility located in DeKalb County’s South River Forest, called “Cop City” by activists. The location has historically been the Old Atlanta Prison Farm site.
The project will cost approximately $90 million. The area will feature a burn tower; space for high-speed chases, a helicopter pad, a shooting range, and a mock village. One-third of the bill will come directly from taxpayers, and the other two-thirds will come through the Atlanta Police Foundation, a collection of private non-profits who financially support APD in various ways. The land will be leased to the Atlanta Police Foundation for $10 per year.
The debate over constructing the facility has become international news. Police officers shot and killed Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Teran, 26, on Jan. 18 near the site, and a state Trooper was wounded during the incident, which has resulted in several protests.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a member of the advisory committee helping to oversee the project, Amy Taylor, is appealing the county’s issuance of a land disturbance permit that would allow construction to move forward.
The South River Watershed Alliance and DeKalb Commissioner Ted Terry joined Taylor in filing a complaint in Fulton County Superior Court on Feb. 13 seeking to halt construction activities related to the training center.
Despite Taylor’s appeal, “Atlanta Police Foundation, Inc. refused to stop clearing the site,” the complaint says.
“Atlanta Police Foundation, Inc. claimed the site ‘is exempt from county zoning requirements altogether’ because it is ‘being developed for a public facility,’” the complaint says.
DeKalb County issued a land disturbance permit on Feb. 2. Taylor filed an appeal with the county’s zoning board of appeals on Feb. 6. To see the appeal to the county’s zoning board of appeals, click here.
“Amy Taylor appealed the planning director’s issuance of the land development permit because sediment discharges caused by clearing, grading, and excavating will violate state law,” the complaint says.
The complaint asks a judge to grant a restraining order to stop land disturbance on the site and to prevent any future disturbances while Taylor’s appeal is pending.
To read the complaint, click here.