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Landfill application filed in Effingham County
Request isn't on fast track, commissioner says
This process) really hasn’t started yet. There is nothing that’s being done so where this zoning is just going straight through and the landfill is a done deal."
District 3 Commissioner Jamie Deloach

RINCON — Ben Wall of Atlantic Waste has filed an application to use an Effingham County tract for a landfill.

The Effingham County Board of Commissioners received the application Friday. 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.

“I’ve been getting come calls about it for the last couple weeks,” District 3 Commissioner Jamie Deloach said. “I’ve definitely gotten more the last couple days.”

Deloach’s constituents are expressing alarm about the proposal and are worried that it is being fast-tracked by commissioners. That isn’t the case, however.

“(This process) really hasn’t started yet,” Deloach said. “There is nothing that’s being done so where this zoning is just going straight through and the landfill is a done deal.

“That is not the case. There are a lot of people out there who think that.”

The property in question is currently zoned AR-1 (agricultural residential, five acres or more), which doesn’t allow for landfills. Commissioners, however, have recently been in the process of reexamining the county’s waste management plan.

“With AR-1, we have been adding some conditional uses,” Deloach said. 

Previous tweaks to AR-1 designation involved cellphone towers and ponds.

The board will consider an AR-1 conditional-use proposal for landfills during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday at 5 p.m. 

“There are three pages of conditions that have to be met (for a landfill)," Deloach said. “I’m not surprised by this but all of my constituents who have reached out to me by email or phone call so far are not concerned with that because they don’t want to see a landfill period. They have told me that they think we should keep (landfills in areas zoned for industrial use).

“That’s what my constituents are telling me.”

Wall initially expressed interest in putting a landfill in Effingham County last December. It was discussed during a commission workshop a month later, Deloach said.

Wall aimed to build a landfill in Screven County in 2020 but that plan was rejected after several months of public resistance and legal manuevering. The resistance included Ogeechee Riverkeeper, an organization whose mission is to “protect, preserve and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin.” 

During the Screven County battle, Wall said the area needs a landfill because others in the region are likely to reach their capacity in the next 10 years

The first public Planning and Zoning Board hearing on Wall’s Effingham County proposal will likely be in May. The earliest the commissioners will consider it will be June 17, Deloach projected.

“We’re not making this where it slides through,” Deloach said. “We still have the same public hearing process on this as anything else.”

Landfill proposals also have to withstand scrutiny be state and federal environmental agencies.