SPRINGFIELD — A regional landfill application recently filed in Effingham County appears headed for the scrap heap.
Led by District 3’s Jamie Deloach, the Effingham County Board of Commissioners expressed clear opposition to the proposal at the start of its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night.
Ben Wall of Atlantic Waste filed the application April 9. The proposed site is on a 1,603-acre piece of property in District 3 that stretches from Old Louisville Road to the Ogeechee River.
The land is zoned AR-1 (agricultural, residential, five acres or more), which doesn’t allow for landfills.
The commissioners have been considering adding conditional uses for AR-1 properties. They were set to be addressed Tuesday but were removed from the agenda before the meeting started and moved to a May 18 public hearing.
After the new agenda was approved, Deloach took the floor to weigh in on Wall’s application and the zoning changes it would necessitate before gaining approval.
“This is just my opinion but, as far as the ordinances here, I would really like the board to not consider the landfill for conditional use under AR under any circumstance,” he said. “I don’t want to see that come back up. I don’t think we have an initial problem with our solid waste program right now and I just think, since there is not an initial problem, there is not a rush to do anything at this point..
“I would really like to see this go away and not come up again.”
Deloach said he had heard from numerous constituents opposed to changes to the AR-1 designation. He reminded those in attendance that landfill applications can still be made for property that is zoned for industrial use.
“We are not saying that someone cannot make applications for a landfill. That’s not what I’m saying, here,” he said. “I just don’t want to see it come up in AR zoning as a conditional use.”
Deloach said Commissioner Phil Kieffer is in accord with him. Kieffer wasn’t at the meeting but Deloach said the District 5 official gave him permission to share his opinion.
“If there was a problem, I think we would be justified to look into (zoning changes). I just don’t feel that we do,” Deloach said.
Commissioners Forrest Floyd (District 1), Roger Burdette (District 2) and Reggie Loper (District 4) echoed Deloach’s sentiments after his remarks.
“I feel a little bit more relieved to kind of verbalize (opposition to the application) and have the other commissioners verbalize that, too,” Deloach said after the meeting.
He doesn’t think a public hearing on the issue will occur.
“Going off what was shared tonight, I would be very surprised if that moved forward,” he said. “It seems that the board is on the same page with not looking at a landfill. I guess that’s as straightforward as I can be on that.”
Deloach reiterated his point that a regional landfill isn’t an immediate need.
“We do have a solid waste plan. Counties and cities have to have one and we’ve been in the process of updating that,” Deloach said. “I just don’t think it’s going to show us as having a need to have a regional landfill in our county.”
The commissioner said he read a recent study that indicated that the area’s current landfill situation is likely good for another 10 years.
“I don’t know a lot about landfills but I know it takes a good bit of time to get one operational,” Deloach said. “I don’t know how much time that would be but I don’t think our backs are against the wall today to where we have to make that decision anytime soon.”