Attorneys for a coalition of Elkridge residents and businesses attacked a waste-management company's claim last night that its services are needed.
Browning-Ferris Inc. has asked the Howard County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, to approve a 17-acre solid-waste transfer station off U.S. 1 near Cemetery Lane in Elkridge. A transfer station consolidates and prepares trash for transport to a landfill.
The company has said the new transfer facility is needed to dispose of commercial trash and promote more recycling among residents.
But last night at the Zoning Board hearing -- the second of four -- the opponents' lead attorneys, David A. Carney and Richard B. Talkin, said the proposed station is not needed because BFI is seeking approval for a similar plant in Baltimore.
Last month, BFI officials requested permission from the Maryland Department of the Environment to build a solid waste transfer station on 15 acres in Baltimore, Carney said. The proposal would handle up to 670,000 tons of residential and commercial waste.
Jim Stone, BFI's vice president of marketing and sales, said he did not know how the proposed Baltimore facility would affect the one proposed for Howard County.
"There's a lot of volume [of trash] in this region," Stone said. "Trash is out there. It has to go somewhere."
Carney and Talkin -- two of the seven attorneys hired by the opponents -- also said BFI isn't being a good neighbor.
Talkin said the recycling plant that BFI operates adjacent to the site proposed for the transfer station is overrun with sea gulls that pick through materials left outside, waiting to be processed.
Stone was the only one to testify last night. For more than two hours, Carney and Talkin challenged testimony he gave at the first hearing on Jan. 8.
The public may have its chance to testify at a Feb. 5 session, scheduled at 7 p.m. at the county's George Howard Building in Ellicott City.
BFI's request is being heard as the county is about to begin a three-year, $3.6 million contract with USA Waste, which operates a transfer station for residential trash in Anne Arundel County, 5 miles from the proposed BFI site in Elkridge.
The contract marks the first time the county will ship its trash outside its borders. It goes into effect Feb. 3, the same day that residential trash from curbside pickup will no longer be dumped at Alpha Ridge, the county's last open landfill, county officials said.
The county zoning and planning boards first approved the BFI proposal in 1994. But an appeal by owners of a neighboring industrial park reached the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled in April 1996 that the zoning panel was wrong to give BFI the go-ahead because the county did not properly notify the public of changes in the proposal.
BFI renewed its request last year and asked for approval from the Planning Board, which voted not to make a recommendation to the Zoning Board.
Opposition to the proposal during this second round has remained intense as evidenced by the nearly 200 residents who signed up to speak against it.
Most of them argue that the facility will be out of place among the residential areas and office parks on U.S. 1 and will increase truck traffic along the busy artery.
Pub Date: 1/30/97