Thursday, August 3, 2006
By SUE WATSON
A crowd of about 44 people attended a public hearing at the courthouse Monday with many going on record in opposition to a solid waste management plan proposed by the Solid Waste Authority of Marshall County.
The only expressed objection to the plan was a proposed sanitary landfill site located in a prime development area near the West Holly Springs Exit on U.S. Highway 78.
After hearing opposition to the proposed landfill site, developer Larry McAlexander withdrew his proposed use of a 68-acre site for a landfill.
Most public comment centered around quality of life issues, protecting air and water quality, protecting neighborhoods, protecting land values, and preserving esthetic values including the historic pristine hills, beautiful landscapes and architectural heritage associated with the City of Holly Springs.
Two letters and one petition were offered as written comment at the hearing, according to attorney Bill Schneller, counsel for the solid waste authority board of directors.
One letter offered approval for the landfill site, one opposed it and one petition opposed the landfill, he said.
Public comment on the comprehensive solid waste management plan is now over, Schneller said.
The Solid Waste Authority board meets August 21 to make a recommendation to hand over to the Marshall County Board of Supervisors, he said, and supervisors have 90 days after the public hearing to either accept the recommendation of the solid waste authority board, adopt it with modifications or reject the comprehensive plan and start over, Schneller said.
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality monitors the planning process but has no fixed deadline on when the plan has to be formally submitted to MDEQ, according to Schneller.
A long-time resident of Marshall County now living in Oxford, McAlexander said he thought he was doing the county a service by offering the acreage for use since there is already a landfill (county-owned rubbish disposal site) there.
“I really thought it would be a service to this county and did background on sites and one at McMinnville, Tenn., a more industrial community,” he said.
Compressed garbage is used to make logs or it can be ground up and spread over barren land and used for agriculture, he said.
People over time have buried their garbage, he said.
“You need to find a means to use this garbage,” he said.
McAlexander noted that his mother lives within three miles of the proposed site and that he has invested in his birthplace - historic City Cafe which is now closed. He was a partner in Mulay Plastics which is now closed, he said. He was also a partner is development of the Meadows subdivision, he said.
“So, I’m not here to hurt this county,” McAlexander said. “I’m trying to inject something (in to to help).
“I will respectfully withdraw that site that would have anything to do with a landfill. This is not something I want to do that would impact this county.”
Brief review of public statements
Holly Springs Alderman Tim Liddy took the microphone first, pointing out that the solid waste committee is probably one of the most important one there is because it deals with trash.
Everyone generates trash, but does not think about where the trash ultimately goes, he said.
A better location for a landfill than the proposed site could have been chosen and the West Holly Springs site, if constructed, would adversely impact the city economically and many people, he said.
Primarily, the location of a landfill at any one of the major intersections coming in to the city “could destroy the economic development wherever it is placed.
“We don’t need to do anything to wipeout growth at any of these intersections.”
Prospective new businesses give intersections as a number one reason for choosing a location, he said. And the City of Holly Springs may want to annex land in the area near the proposed site and out toward the airport.
“We don’t want to do something to inhibit that,” he said.
Paul Lampley said a landfill would negatively impact future expansion of the west end of the city and would have a “deteriorating effect” on that area.
He noted that several other potential landfill sites had received public opposition, one of which he thought would be ideal.
Lampley cited a summary of advantages and disadvantages of some 462,000 landfill sites and noted the disadvantages outweighed the benefits.
Landfills take up a lot of land, bring into play environmental protection issues, and once a decision to build one, the decision is not reversible, he said.
“So, I as a resident of the area who works in the area am adamantly opposed,” he said.
Edith Taylor objected on the basis that a landfill near her neighborhood would affect existing wildlife and habitat of the Meadows. She expressed concern about air quality.
“The west side is the front door to Holly Springs; you may make it the back door,” she said. “I hope you gentlemen think about putting that pit somewhere else.”
Alva Beck, who said he lives near the proposed landfill site, opposed the location saying it would “kill any possible development.”
Beck also cited a decision by the city to place a sewage treatment plant near his neighborhood in the 1950s, which he said was a mistake.
“Are you going to make another mistake 50 years later?” he said. “This is not rocket science. I oppose the landfill with all my might and all my thought.”
Joanne Huff spoke on behalf of her sister who she said owns acreage next to the proposed landfill site.
“Of course this is not going to be an improvement to their property,” she said. “On behalf of my sister and her husband, they’d (the county would) be pretty much ruining their acreage.”
Others expressing similar sentiments at the public hearing included Holly Springs Alderman Russell Johnson, Norman Chapman, Chelius Carter, Linda Turner, Sidney Hurdle and Jeff Cheek.
County consultant Jim McNaughton said MDEQ does not require a proposed landfill site in a comprehensive plan but the plan has to offer a long-term plan on where garbage will be disposed.
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