Vote on rubble landfill delayed Situation remains unresolved despite 10 months of debate WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

February 25, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

After wrestling for 10 months with a request to put a rubble landfill near Crofton, the county Board of Appeals delayed a vote Tuesday night and will try again on March 15.

The Halle Cos., a Silver Spring-based company, wants to put the landfill, called Chesapeake Terrace, on 150 acres in a 480-acre parcel off Conway Road near Route 3. The company also wants permission to operate a sand and gravel operation on 35 acres.

The appeals board, which has heard 30-plus hours of testimony, discussed Halle's request for more than 2 1/2 hours before deciding to delay a decision.

An administrative hearing officer turned the project down in March 1991, agreeing with residents that clogged roads would be further burdened by the 300 trucks driving in and out each day. The county also advised against approving the project.

Halle went to the appeals board, prompting one of the longest series of hearings in county history. Twelve hearings were held last year -- many three hours long -- topping the 30 hours of hearings in 1982 for what is now the Marley Station Mall.

The seven-member board has agreed to impose a 10-year limit on the operation and barred rubble from coming into the facility by train. However, members decided they cannot prohibit out-of-state refuse, a stipulation requested by many residents.

What remains to be decided are a variety of issues, including hours of operation, fencing and the handling of increased traffic.

Some members said they were discouraged that the State Highway Administration refused to comment on the landfill's effect on routes 3 and 424, a heavily congested intersection that would be used by virtually all of the trucks dumping at the facility.

The developer's traffic expert testified last year that adding another turn lane on Route 424 at the Route 3 intersection would alleviate the bottleneck.

The state withheld comment because Route 3 does not directly border the proposed landfill.

"We're talking about the impact that that dump trucks will have on a state road," said board Chairman F. George Deuringer. "And the State Highway Administration says they have no comment. It boggles the mind how they can just brush this aside."

Members said the lack of an impartial traffic report has hindered their ability to decide the case.

"No one was told any different," said Barbara M. Hale. "We didn't have any expert in here to disagree."

The board faces more difficult decisions when it reconvenes next month. None of the agreements hammered out so far is final, and members can alter the terms.

For example, questions were raised after the board settled on a 10-year limit on the landfill operation. Company officials were looking for a 20-year maximum and county requested a 15-year limit.

Some board members worried that the developer would try to haul in as much rubble as he could, creating even more of a problem in the first years of operation.

But others said the developer would do that anyway. "They are going to go out and get all of the rubble that they can," said John W. Boring, the vice-chairman.

The unusual duration of the case and the attention it has received also has added to the pressure on the board, with some members accusing their colleagues of being unflexible.

During one heated exchange, Anthony V. Lamartina, who supports many restrictions, snapped, "The compromise I'm considering is granting this application with conditions."

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