Commission landfill vote scheduled April 18

Published 10:21 am Monday, April 4, 2011

The Conecuh County Commission has set a date to vote on a proposed landfill, but will first hear from engineers who completed competing evaluations of the project.

Commissioners said this week they will vote on the project on April 18, three days before the deadline to do so before the project would be automatically approved.

According to state law, if commissioners do not take action on a landfill project within 90 days, the project is automatically approved.

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Conecuh Woods LLC has filed an application for a landfill to be located on a 5,000-acre piece of land near Repton. According to the company, the disposal cells will eventually fill 1,600 acres of the property.

On April 11, commissioners will hear from engineers who completed different assessments of the landfill application from Conecuh Woods.

The engineering firm hired by the county gave the project a passing grade, while an engineer hired by anti-landfill group Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama said the project does not meet the standards set by the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan.

“The proposed facility is in no way consistent with the county’s solid waste needs,” engineer Hall Wood wrote. “The proposed volume exceeds the projected needs by 350 times.”

The county-funded engineering report — written by the same company that wrote the Solid Waste Management Plan — gives a passing grade to several criteria that must be met.

“The local economy should see positive impacts from increase employment. Should additional industries be attracted to the area, the landfill would be a plus in recruitment. However, this facility is a landfill and negative emotional issues remain that may not be assuaged regardless of the merits.”

County officials have said the engineering report does not necessarily mean the project will be approved. County officials can also take into account public sentiment.

Judging from the response at a public hearing on the project last month, public opinion is against the project. A majority of the hundreds of people who attended the hearing were against the landfill.