The Harford County Council approved the administration's solid waste management plan last night but not before eliminating plans to reopen a controversial landfill in the fast-growing Abingdon area.
The plan was approved by a vote of 6-1 after the council adopted a series of amendments, including one that eliminated the former Spencer sand and gravel pit off Abingdon Road as a landfill for construction and demolition debris.
Council President Robert S. Wagner ended any suspense on the landfill issue during a public hearing an hour before the council session. He said the dispute over Spencer's was not about an existing rubble fill and any previous problems, but "all about the start-up of a new rubble fill on a site which was previously permitted."
The old permit expired 13 years ago, he said, and many new homes have been built in the area, and families have moved there during the period that it was dormant.
For these reasons, Wagner said, it was "imperative for this council to remove at this time the inclusion of Spencer's rubble fill from the proposed solid waste management plan." Five of the other council member immediately endorsed his proposal.
Wagner's comments drew thundering applause from the standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people, most of whom attended to protest reopening the Spencer site.
Councilman Lance C. Miller voted against the removal of Spencer's from the county plan. He expressed concern that if the site were not allowed to take debris, it would force the county to open a new rubble fill at the Scarboro landfill, which is in his district.
During last night's hearing, neighbors complained that reopening the landfill, which has been closed since 1992, would result in more noise, air pollution and truck traffic.