Zoning Board schedules another hearing on proposal for waste transfer station Some residents have yet to testify

March 21, 1997|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Zoning Board last night extended until April 15 a hearing on a proposed solid-waste transfer station in Elkridge.

At last night's session, which lasted over three hours, the board heard testimony from six opponents of the proposals. About 20 residents attended the hearing and several have yet to testify.

As a result, the board, which is made up of the five County Council members, scheduled another session for 7 p.m. April 15.

Darrel E. Drown, who chairs the board, had said Wednesday night that the board would continue hearings if there was more testimony to be presented.

Last night, two state lawmakers joined residents, who restated their opposition to a plan by Browning-Ferris Industries to build the transfer station on 17 acres on Cemetery Lane, where the waste-management company operates a recycling center. At the transfer station, trash would be consolidated and prepared for transport to a landfill.

BFI's request for a transfer station in an area zoned for light manufacturing requires board approval.

Mark McPherson, who has lived in the county for 33 years, said the odor and noise from trucks hauling trash to the station would ruin the tranquillity of the neighborhood.

"It's intrusive to the community, to the people who live here," he said. "I ask the board to turn down this proposal."

Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer and Del. James E. Malone Jr., Democrats who represent Howard and Baltimore counties, respectively, questioned the need for the station with one in nearby Annapolis Junction in Anne Arundel County and another in Southwest Baltimore.

David Welch, vice president of Security Capital Industrial Trust, testified that his firm had a "handshake deal" with another company to develop 46.7 acres at Meadow Ridge Business Park that the industrial developer bought in June.

But the other company, which had planned to bring in about 150 jobs, backed out of negotiations and bought land in Anne Arundel because it did not want to set up an office building next to a trash transfer station, Welch said.

"I'm scared to death that we'll lose deals because of this solid-waste transfer station," he said.

Under sharp questioning by BFI attorney Ronald S. Schimel, Welch acknowledged that his firm had known about the proposed station before it purchased the land and could have bought a different property.

BFI representatives have argued that the transfer station would keep the cost of waste disposal low because of competition from a similar station in Anne Arundel and another in Baltimore County.

The county zoning and planning boards first approved BFI's proposal three years ago.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed that decision last April.

The court ruled that the county must have a compelling reason to allow a trash transfer station in an area zoned for light manufacturing and sent the issue back to the zoning board because the county had not properly notified the public of changes in the proposal.

BFI renewed its request last year, despite opposition from some Elkridge residents and merchants.

Pub Date: 3/21/97

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