BFI plan unacceptable, expert says Cemetery Lane site is ** too small, he says

April 16, 1997|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

A landscape architect and planning expert said last night he finds no compelling reason to build a trash transfer station on 17 acres in Elkridge and has many more reasons why the plan should be rejected by the Howard County Zoning Board.

Browning-Ferris Industries proposes to build the transfer station 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.

Last night, attorneys for opponents of the transfer station presented Mark Wendland, a senior associate and landscape architect for LDR International in Columbia, as an expert witness to refute BFI's claim that the proposed site is suitable for the transfer station.

Wendland said he visited and analyzed at least four other trash transfer stations in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and found fit" between BFI's proposed station and the site.

Among Wendland's reasons for opposing the transfer station are:

The site is landlocked with no features, such as major highways, separating it from the surrounding community.

The site is too small at 17 acres to process the proposed 2,000 tons of trash a day, compared with other transfer stations that process at least that much trash on parcels of land twice the size.

Such a facility is not compatible with the other surrounding uses, such as stores, churches, motels and homes less than 800 feet away.

"The transfer station is being forced on this site," Wendland testified. "It seems like BFI is going to extremes so it would, at best, marginally work on this site."

Wendland said there have been numerous improvements to the U.S. 1 corridor that have changed the character of Elkridge for the better, including business parks with more high-quality tenants and booming residential development.

The BFI facility would become an eyesore with the constant truck traffic, Wendland said.

The next hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. today in the George W. Howard building in Ellicott City. The board will schedule more hearing dates, if necessary.

A decision in the case is not expected before June, said Darrel E. Drown, the board chairman

BFI's request for a transfer station in an area zoned for light manufacturing requires approval from the board, which consists of the five-member County Council.

BFI representatives have argued that the transfer station would keep trash tipping fees low by competing with a similar facility in Anne Arundel County and another in Baltimore County.

But residents and merchants contend that odors and noise from the transfer station would hurt their community, and trucks carrying trash to the facility would further clog an already crowded U.S. 1.

Pub Date: 4/16/97

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