By Stan Welch
The Planning and Public Works Committee of Anderson County met Monday to discuss a requested increase in capacity at the Anderson Regional Landfill, currently owned and operated by Waste Connections.
The annual permitted capacity is currently 438,000 tons. Waste Connections is seeking an annual increase of fifty thousand tons. Cindy Wilson, committee chair and representative for the seventh district, site of the landfill, has long been a critic and watchdog for the landfill and its environmental and traffic impacts on the Cheddar community. She made it clear that her support for the request was based on recent improvements in the company’s conduct and cooperation.
“Waste Connections has hired a new trucking company that has been a vast improvement. They have also shown a much better response to some of the concerns of the community. They are communicating with us and have shown a willingness to work with us in addressing those concerns. Those are all factors in my support and the community’s for this request.”
The increased capacity will be allowed for two years on a test basis, with a review at that time. The request is the result of the company getting very close to the permitted capacity last year. No vote was taken by the committee to recommend the approval of the request to the full council, due to member Jimmy Davis recusing himself. The company he works for does business with Waste Connections, so he recused himself from the discussion. That left the committee with only two members present.
The committee then spent considerable time wrestling with a proposed ordinance concerning the storage of noxious materials and commercial equipment on residential property in areas zoned residential. The issue concerns materials, such as stumps, rip rap, mulch and industrial equipment used in a business that is off site. The problem exists in neighborhoods and subdivisions, with residential zoning designation.
If a person had a single piece of equipment like a chipper or lawnmower that he transported every day, that would not be a problem. But the parking of backhoes, dump trucks and large equipment on residential property would be.
District Six Councilman Jimmy Davis favored the most specific ordinance language possible, while D1 Council member Craig Wooten thought the broader language would give the county more discretion in enforcement. Both Wooten and Davis expressed concerns about the county being asked to replace subdivision covenants that have been allowed to expire, or to serve as HOAs that are inactive or not existent.
Enforcement is the current problem, as the zoning ordinance does not offer any penalty. The proposed ordinance would allow the magistrate’s court to set the fine on a case by case basis. In the end, the committee asked the planning department and county attorney to present new language to the committee soon.
By Stan Welch