RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council voted Tuesday to support a new county landfill to be built in southern Wake County, and also approved plans for a $100 million project that would put the city's largest building away from downtown.
In a unanimous vote, City Council members voted 8-0 in favor of transforming a 447-acre area of land in Holly Springs into the future South Wake Landfill.
Wake County municipalities are trying to decide where to put the county's trash when the North Wake Landfill closes in 2007. Wake County's manager insists it would be cheaper to bring the trash to Holly Springs rather than haul it outside the county.
"The difference in cost over 25 years is $224 million," said Wake County Manager David Cooke.
Cooke said that with higher gas prices, the cost to ship outside the county could grow by an additional $15 million, but the town of Holly Springs continues to dispute the numbers.
"We would like to propose a broader view of all the potential costs of solid waste," said Holly Springs Assistant Town Manager Chuck Simmons.
But after two years of analysis, the Raleigh City Council unanimously supported the recommendation of its city manager and voted for a landfill in southern Wake County.
"The issue is clearly one of cost," said Council member Philip Isley.
With Tuesday's vote, other Wake County municipalities, which are expected to take votes on the landfill this month, are likely to follow the Capital City's lead. The ultimate decision, however, is Wake County commissioners'. It is expected by December.
Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears, who has been against the plan since it was proposed, said the town would continue its campaign with the hope that it could convince enough commissioners to vote against the proposal. Sears has also said that at least three developers have made offers close to $20 million on the property
The City Council also approved plans for the Glen Tree, a 480-feet high-rise building that would include in it a Westin Hotel, condominiums, office space and a spa. It would be located at the site of the old Sheraton Hotel across from Crabtree Valley Mall.
"It's a marvelous piece of redevelopment," said Raleigh Council member Tommy Craven.
Even Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, who had initial concerns about its towering height, said the quality of the project stood for itself. But Councilman Thomas Crowder disagreed, saying a 42-story building did not belong on Glenwood Avenue outside of downtown.
"This will dwarf what is affectionately called the 'Green Pickle' in Durham, and I think Raleigh will end up with its own comical relief if this goes forward," Crowder said.
The developer, however, had a much different view.
"What this does today is put us in context with cities like Miami, Atlanta and Chicago," said Dicky Walia. "We no longer have to be the ugly cousin of any other city."
Walia said that he hopes to start knocking down the old hotel on the site within 30 to 60 days. Glen Tree is expected to open by 2007.
The City Council also approved plans for a Costco discount warehouse, which would be a first in the city. The store will be located at the site of the old Pepsi plant at the corner of Six Forks and Wake Forest Roads. The 148,000 square-feet facility could open by late spring.