Planning Commission Chairman William Brown said last week that he thought a request from Shoosmith Bros. Inc., which has asked the county to lift three conditions placed on its operations during the landfill’s 1997 expansion, was ready to go forward.
In March, the Planning Commission voted to defer Shoosmith’s request and a public hearing on the matter to its Tuesday, May 18, public hearing. At that time, Planning Director Kirk Turner said staff had recommended that the item be deferred for 60 days.
The landfill, which is located just off Iron Bridge and Lewis Roads, was started in 1976 and permitted for 200 acres of the 600-acre site. In 1997, Shoosmith asked to add 200 acres to the landfill and made 24 proffers during that application and approval process.
The company is seeking changes to three of those proffers to allow: the acceptance of out-of-state trash in the new section of the landfill; landfill and quarrying operations in the quarry at the same time; and the addition of more waste to an area of the landfill that has been capped.
“I think the primary concern that the Planning Commission has that they’re dealing with Shoosmith on are operational concerns,” Turner said last week. The commission has questions about having landfill and quarrying operations underway in the quarry at the same time, he said.
“They want to understand how that can happen and not create an environmental hazard,” he said. At this point, public concern has “kind of quieted down,” Turner said, and he knows Shoosmith has been working to communicate with the community and address its concerns.
Last week, Brown – who represents the Dale District, where the landfill is located – said he thought the case was ready to go forward. One of the items still under negotiation is a tipping fee, which most landfills pay to the localities they are in based on how much trash they take in and what customers pay to dump there.
“Shoosmith does not have to do that because their landfill started before such things were used,” he said. In an effort to get authorization to bring in more out-of-state trash, “Shoosmith has basically offered to start paying a tippage fee.”
Out-of-state trash is essentially identical to trash from Virginia, but the landfill is able to make more money on waste from other states, he said.
“The tradeoff is that, if we allow this change in the condition, the county should get something for it,” Brown said. His understanding is that Shoosmith and the county haven’t reached an agreement on the fee yet, he said.
Even if an agreement isn’t reached and the request isn’t approved, landfill operations will continue as they have in recent years, Brown said.
“The smell is the biggest problem people have,” he said, but the fact is the landfill was there before most of the homes around it. Shoosmith “is using all the technology available” to control the smell, he said, and they do a good job of keeping the roads near the landfill clean.
The public hearing on the matter will take place at the commission’s May 18 session, which begins at 6 p.m.