A hearing on a proposed rubble landfill in the Forks of Patuxent area of Odenton has been delayed for a month, prompting a community leader to wonder if a new plan is in the works.
The county Office of Planning and Zoning requested the delay yesterday, saying it had been given a new set of numbers by the developer, the Halle companies, andwanted time to study them.
Buzz Meyer, president of the Forks of Patuxent Improvement Association, was ready to testify at the hearing, having just concluded a meeting with Halle representatives and association members.
"Right now, everything is a big question mark," Meyer said.
Halle wants to build a gravel mining operation and rubble landfill on a 500-acre site off Patuxent Road. The landfill would be on about 220 acres.
Halle needs a special exception from the county because the landfill is proposed for an area zoned agricultural-residential. The hearing has been rescheduled for Feb. 22.
Residents of Woodwardville and Wilson Town are concerned because written agreements between the association and Halle would permit a portion of the landfill to be built 100feet from their homes.
The written agreements do not cover the bulk of the land, along which residents want a 1,000-foot buffer.
The community association has wrestled with the issue for several months. In July, Woodwardville and Wilson Town residents urged the association to support extending the buffer zone to 1,000 feet. But association President Jack Meyer and five board members resigned, saying the written agreements were legally binding.
The new president, Buzz Meyer, agrees with his predecessors.
Meyer said he met with Halle representatives Thursday and said he was encouraged by what he heard. He said the company agreed to expand the buffer zone between the landfill and the Mount Zion A.M.E., promised not to fill the landfill beyond ground level and agreed to improve Patuxent Road before starting to excavate.
"If (Halle) could meet the conditions the organization was seriously concerned about, then we were not going to oppose it," Meyer said.
He said the company gave assurances those points of major opposition could be dealt with to everyone's satisfaction, but now he isn't so sure.
"I want to find out why it was delayed and what changes are in store and if it affects us," he said.
Kevin Dooley, a planner with the Office of Planning and Zoning, said the new numbers do not mean Halle's proposal has changed. "We were provided with information at the last minute . . .information regarding the amount of material."
As an incentive for getting community support forthe project, the Halle companies offered last year to pay the community for the right to run a landfill, which could mean as much as $1.25 million over 15 years.
But in July, Stephen Fleischman, vice president of Halle, said all offers could be withdrawn if his company does not get community support.
"I don't know what to tell you," Fleischman said in July. "One day they're for it, the next day they're not. . . . If the community is behind us, we are willing to do a wholebunch of things. We are trying to show we will be a good neighbor."
Fleischman could not be reached for comment yesterday.