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Developer, neighbors prepare for legal battle over Harnett landfill

Posted May 29, 2012

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— A regional landfill that was rejected by the Harnett County Board of Adjustment last fall is dumping a potentially messy legal battle on the county and its residents.

Burlington-based Sandhills Environmental had planned to convert a 370-acre former sand mine off N.C. Highway 24/27 between Cameron and the Johnsonville community into a regional landfill. The county Board of Adjustment held six hearings and heard 26 hours of testimony on the issue before voting in September to reject the company's application for a special-use permit.

Now, Sandhills Environmental is suing the county, saying it was biased in its decision and didn't afford the company a fair hearing. The developer alleges that board members based their decision on factors they had no legal authority to consider, including concerns about public safety risks and neighboring property values.

The company said it met its burden of proof that the landfill would be safe and vowed to build wide buffers, berms and trees to limit the smell and other environmental impacts on neighbors.

Some Harnett County leaders were in favor of the landfill, saying it would bring in $2 million a year in fees that could help plug funding gaps for roads and schools.

But the people living near the proposed site say they're united against it. 

Lisa Gilmore Landfill developer sues Harnett County; neighbors brace for legal battle

"(People are talking about) how this is great for the county and why are people being selfish?" said a tearful Lisa Gilmore, who lives about 500 feet from the proposed landfill site. "Well, this is my home."

She said she and other homeowners in the Carolina Seasons neighborhood are raising money for their own attorney in the legal fight between the county and Sandhills Environmental. They plan to meet on the issue Tuesday evening.

"I can't stand by and let (the landfill) happen without going to court, without fighting as much as I can," Gilmore said.

Her neighbor, Penny Christman, said the lawsuit is causing a lot of distress for Carolina Seasons homeowners.

"It has ruined our lives already just worrying about this," she said. "We are trying as a group. We've become very united."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • southerntalent May 31, 2012

    the money coming from fracking is making that decision also,no matter what the locals think unfortunatly

  • Spartan 136 May 31, 2012

    Just drove through the area that will be the landfill. Road construction has already begun. Seems like the politicians have decided. Next time let's vote them all out! It does not matter republican or democrat...drain the swamp!!!

  • cathysnc May 30, 2012

    Some of the Harnett county board could really care less about the opinions of Harnett county residents. Its all about the $$. I know we have to have landfills but I would not want one in my back yard and sure as heck one that is bringing in trash from out of state or county. Don't blame these people for being upset.

  • Bartmeister May 30, 2012

    I love the comments in the article.

    "The developer alleges that board members based their decision on factors they had no legal authority to consider, including concerns about public safety risks and neighboring property values."

    Haha, they're suing because someone had public safety and property devaluation in mind? Well that kind of statement is gonna get them taken off of a lot of Christmas Card mailing lists...........

  • purrcard May 30, 2012

    Fuquay Resident; you don't understand, Harnett County has a landfill; this would be a privately run landfill accepting trash from a four state area. Then the land will be developed and sold off as building lots. They expect to fill this for forty years.

  • purrcard May 30, 2012

    Let Sandhill Evironmental put it in their own backyards in Burlington and Greensboro; I have dealt with these folks for over 25 years as G&S Materials, they renig on sand pit promises so why would they do anything else with a landfill.

  • jdkey May 30, 2012

    Well Fuquay here are some facts that you may NOT know.
    I do live in Carolina Seasons less thab 1/8 of a mile
    Fact they want to bring in trash from every county (100 ) in NC plus 11 countys in SC plus 10 in Virgnia.
    Fact they plan on bringing in 300 tons a day making the pile 185 FT above the street level
    Fact you can place almost anything in your trash to include medical waste
    Fact all liners leak
    I can go on and on and on if you wish to hear more I will be glad to post and give you the REAL story.

  • Fuquay Resident May 29, 2012

    Actually muggs, I lived with about 6 chicken houses in my back yard for about 10 years before I moved to Fuquay. I really didn't mind them. They only smelled when the conditions (wind directions, humidity, temperature, and amount of chicken litter) were just right and that was maybe 3 or 4 nights per summer.

  • Fuquay Resident May 29, 2012

    goonwithdatmess, where do you want to put the trash? I can't imagine putting it in a sand pit will be much different than digging the sand pit. They can put it in my back yard if they want to, I don't mind and I need the $$.

  • muggs May 29, 2012

    Fuquay Resident,Your comment smells like garbage to me,what say we put a couple chicken houses in your back yard,same difference landfills smell no matter how you want to make it sound reasonable.