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Commissioners approve transfer station for solid waste at Eubanks Road site

By Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

In a decision that pleased no one, questions are raised about sending waste out of county

The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to develop a solid waste transfer station at the Eubanks Road landfill.

The board considered three transfer station sites, including two sites off U.S. 70 in the Eno Economic Development District and the Eubanks Road landfill. The landfill will reach capacity in 2010, and the county plans to build the transfer station in order to transfer its solid waste out of the county.

The board had previously postponed a vote on the location of the transfer station, requesting more information from county staff regarding potential transfer station sites as well as the criteria in determining such sites.

Residents of neighborhoods surrounding each of the sites have been critical of the county’s search process and the lack of formal criteria in determining potential transfer station sites.

Commissioners agreed that the county should have sited a transfer station before the landfill was so close to capacity.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge that this process didn’t work the way it should’ve,” commissioner Mike Nelson said.

The decision, he said, should have been made years ago. “This was not one of our better moments.”

Commissioner Valerie Foushee agreed. “I am not proud of where we are at this point,” she said,” adding, “I am not certain of where we should go,” but “we are where we are, and we do have a tough decision to make because we have run out of time.”

Nelson said he had a “philosophical objection” to shipping garbage out of the county. “Our garbage will be going to some poor community somewhere. It’s not going to be some happy land with elves dancing.”

Rogers Road neighborhood residents argued that because the neighborhood has hosted the county’s landfill since the early 1970s, the county should not consider the Eubanks Road site for the transfer station.

Rev. Robert Campbell, a resident of the Rogers Road neighborhood, said the county should have spent more time selecting a transfer station.

“It seems like we have the same show that happened to Chapel Hill back in the ’70s when they dragged their feet and didn’t do the right thing in a timely manner,” he said. “The solid waste management dragged their feet. They don’t have capacity to construct a transfer station,” Campbell said. “Regardless of the crunch you have, let’s not put the facility on Eubanks Road.”

Campbell said the residents of Rogers Road already have the landfill and should not have to deal with a transfer station as well: “All I can say is that the neighbors have had enough.”

Tracy Kuhlman, a resident of the Rogers Road neighborhood, also criticized the county’s haste in selecting a transfer station site.

“The residents of the Rogers Road/Eubanks area should not be punished because the county could not address this matter sooner,” she said.

Rachel Clayton, a resident of a neighborhood near one of the U.S. 70 sites, said she didn’t think any of the considered sites should have been used for a transfer station.
“I don’t think anyone that’s in a residential section should have to have this facility in their area.”

In other county business, the commissioners approved an inter-local agreement with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to establish a 40-year lease agreement and agency agreement for the construction of Elementary School 10. The school is scheduled to open in 2008.

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