BFI again makes case for waste transfer station Zoning OK sought for Elkridge facility

February 06, 1997|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

In a development case that is not even half over after three hearings before the Howard County Zoning Board, a waste-management company restated last night its case for why its proposed solid-waste transfer station is needed.

Browning-Ferris Inc. has asked the County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, to approve a 17-acre station off U.S. 1 on Cemetery Lane in Elkridge.

A transfer station consolidates and prepares trash for transport to a landfill.

BFI attorney Ronald S. Schimel used the concluding testimony of Jim Stone, the company's vice president of marketing and sales, to restate the company's case that the transfer station is needed to dispose of commercial trash, to promote more recycling and create competition among waste-management companies.

"When you only have one transfer station in this marketplace, how can you derive competition?" said Stone, referring to the county's three-year residential trash contract with a transfer station in Anne Arundel County. "There's no competitiveness involving transfer stations."

The hearing was the third of four originally planned. The last in that series is scheduled for 7 p.m. today, and four more have been added for March.

At last night's hearing, Schimel and Stone countered accusations that BFI wasn't being a good neighbor and wasn't committed to the Elkridge proposal.

BFI's request last month that it be allowed to build a transfer station on 15 acres in Baltimore is not an effort by the company to have a backup station if the Elkridge proposal is denied,

Stone testified.

The proposed transfer station in Baltimore is compatible with the one proposed for Elkridge, he said. The Baltimore station also would be used to recycle material from construction debris, and the Elkridge station would complement the recycling center for paper and plastics on the site.

Stone said that in the four years the recycling center has been in Elkridge, there have been two complaints about litter blowing onto nearby properties.

The community has had "every opportunity to voice their concern," Stone said. "To characterize this facility as anything but a business trying to do the right thing is just not accurate."

BFI is likely to finish presenting its case at tonight's hearing.

The opponents, a coalition of Elkridge residents and businesses, probably will begin presenting their case at the 7 p.m. March 5 session.

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.

The county zoning and planning boards first approved the BFI proposal in 1994. 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 had been 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.

Most of the opponents argue that the transfer station would be out of place amid the residential areas and office parks on U.S. 1 and would increase truck traffic along the busy artery.

Pub Date: 2/06/97

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