Impasse clouds future of waste station

November 08, 1996|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The future of a proposed 17-acre solid waste transfer station off U.S. 1 near Cemetery Lane became a bit cloudy this week, as the Howard County Planning Board reached an impasse on whether to support it.

Asked to approve Browning-Ferris Inc.'s request to build the transfer station, the board's four members voted 2-2 at its meeting Wednesday.

BFI sought a recommendation from the board and, ultimately, final approval from the county Zoning Board. But the tie vote may not bode well for the proposal -- which has been strongly opposed by some Elkridge residents and businesses -- when it comes before the Zoning Board on Jan. 8.

"There has got to be a different area to put the transfer station," said board member Gary Kaufmann, who questioned the need and proposed location for the project.

U.S. 1 "has developed into an area with nice office structures, and we can't have it all messed up with garbage trucks," he said.

The board appeared to be deadlocked at its meeting last month when it postponed a decision because members wanted to hear testimony from James M. Irvin, director of the county Public Works Department, on alternatives to handling the county's trash.

There's no longer pressure to use the BFI station. Irvin said that Alpha Ridge, the county's last open landfill, will close at the end of the year after the county signed a five-year contract with a transfer station in Anne Arundel County -- about five miles from the proposed Elkridge site -- to dispose of Howard's residential trash.

The county's contract with Sanifill Inc. in Jessup will become effective in January, Irvin said.

BFI's proposal "is not the last word for getting rid of waste in Howard County," said Theodore F. Mariani, the board's chairman.

Board member Joan Lancos disagreed. "We're already sending some of our waste streams out of the county," she said. "We should take the responsibility for it."

In 1994, the county zoning and planning boards approved BFI's request.

But an appeal by owners of a neighboring industrial park reached the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled in April that the zoning panel was wrong to give BFI the go-ahead for the transfer station because the county did not properly notify the public of changes to the proposal.

BFI renewed its request and asked the Planning Board for a new recommendation.

The proposed station would be next to BFI's recycling center. It would process residential and commercial trash and prepare it for shipment elsewhere for disposal.

The proposed Elkridge facility would operate at a maximum capacity of 2,000 tons of waste per day, according to BFI officials.

Pub Date: 11/08/96

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