Many citizens concerned with the amending of the 1995 Conditional Use Permit establishing the Butler County landfill attended the County Commissioner's meeting on Tuesday morning.
The original CUP, which was established in the 1970s, allowed the use of the northwest corner of an area of land on SW 40th Street to be used as a solid waste landfill. That site operated continually until the landfill was full.
In 1995, upon discovery the landfill was full to capacity, the county purchased additional land between Kickapoo and Boyer Road and SW 40th and 50th streets.
The county originally purchased the extra land to use to obtain cover material for the landfill, which is dictated by guidelines of the EPA to prevent erosion and exposure of the materials to various elements.
"During the process of the hearing for the CUP in 1995, the planning commission recommended the approval," explained Rod Compton, City Planning and Zoning director, "but it did not include a prohibition of using the land for coverage material."
When the resolution was brought before the County Commission, however, a resolution passed approving the existing landfill with a stipulation the extra land not be used for cover or fill material. It also decreed the extra land be zoned as agricultural land.
Now, with the concern of several Butler County citizens, the CUP was recommended once again by the Planning Commission to include the remaining land as fill and cover materials. Because of the petitions and disapproval expressed by several neighbors, a 3/4 majority vote to approve the CUP is required by the Butler County Commission.
"My big concern," said Renee Frye, an attending neighbor, "is the lack of checking into what the railroad would say. The area across the street from my home is where they're supposed to be getting this soil and they will have to cross railroad tracks. This is a main line and these are not tracks you mess with."
Several other areas of discussion mentioned by the citizens were the lack of a long-term plan on the effects of the continual digging and hauling and the various hazards it would cause for neighbors.
"What concerns me is the fact that my dad lives with me," said Vicky Swimmer. "He is 90 years old and when there were no crops planted in that field across from my house, we got a lot of dust. It would be a health hazard for us with the increased dust. Even if they start digging, they're going to need some kind of cover crop."
"We are required to have a cover material," said Commissioner Jeff Masterson. "The land was purchased with that in mind and dirt is not free. I think we will need some more information on alternatives for that cover before we can make a decision."
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm not sure this is the best option," agreed Commissioner Peggy Palmer. "I would like to look at some other options and make a long-term plan."
"We always need to make sure we're good neighbors," said Commissioner Ed Myers. "I'm not prepared at this time to give approval as it has been requested."
In order to receive some much-needed information, the commission elected to table the discussion until the next meeting when Public Works Director Darryl Lutz who was absent, could better explain some key points.
The commission also:
• approved the contracts for the bridge repair work for the Diamond Creed Bridge on NW River Valley Road and for the Fourmile Creek Bridge on SW Thunder Road.
• denied approval for the request for financial assistance to Downtown Augusta, Inc in the amount of $2,500 due to the concern of the lack of city supported funds.
• denied approval for the request for economic assistance in the amount of $75,000 from Strategic Growth Capital, Inc.