Proposed waste transfer station opposed Facility would ruin image of U.S. 1, zoning panel told

March 07, 1997|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Odor, dust, litter, rodents and increased traffic.

That would be the future of the U.S. 1 corridor if an Elkridge waste transfer station is built, residents, ministers and developers told the Howard County Zoning Board last night.

Browning-Ferris Inc. has asked the board to approve the transfer station -- where trash would be consolidated and prepared for transport to a landfill -- to be built on a 17-acre site on Cemetery Lane, where the waste-management company operates a recycling center.

But opponents say the station would not be a good neighbor in an area that's struggling to improve its tacky image.

"There has been continuous improvement of the U.S. 1 corridor," testified the Rev. Michael Russell, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church on Montgomery Road. "The commercial area is becoming a sensible and attractive area instead of a hodge-podge of the tasteful and the tasteless."

Said Ed Huber, an Elkridge activist: "The facility will degrade the quality of development all along the corridor. The stigma of being near a solid waste overlay is not compatible."

About a half-dozen residents who attended last night's hearing -- the seventh of nine planned -- shared their bleak visions of what the transfer station would mean to Elkridge. The next hearing is scheduled March 19.

Residents testified that while they are not terribly offended by the recycling center BFI operates on the site, to allow a transfer station would sorely test the community's goodwill.

Patrick Dougal of Dougal and Associates Inc, a family-owned real estate company, testified that his client, owner of the Rounding Third Sport Center on U.S. 1, will not relocate the family entertainment center to a 4-acre site near Meadowridge Road if the BFI facility is approved.

"BFI will not be a good corporate neighbor," Dougal said.

An Elkridge resident, who lives near the regional composting facility in Dorsey that closed earlier this year after two years of operation, told the Zoning Board that the foul stench she and her neighbors dealt with for years "cannot be allowed to happen again."

BFI was the first operator of the now-closed facility, which handled yard debris from private homes in the region.

The county zoning and planning boards first approved the BFI proposal for a waste transfer station in 1994.

An appeal by owners of a neighboring industrial park reached the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled in April 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, to the dismay of some Elkridge residents and business owners.

During last night's hearing, Ronald L. Schimel, BFI's attorney asked a witness, "How close to Elkridge do you suggest the transfer station be located?

The Rev. Monroe Simms, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Elkridge on Paradise Avenue, responded: "In another country."

Pub Date: 3/07/97

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