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Debate Over Proposed Holly Springs Landfill Goes To Court

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The debate over the proposed Holly Springs landfill heads back to court Wednesday. Officials in Wake County say the Durant Road landfill is filling up and plans are already in the works to close it before August 2006. The county wants to build a new 463-acre landfill in Holly Springs, but neighbors who live there do not want it.

Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears is just one of many people in the town hoping Wake County will lose the fight to put a landfill just beyond the construction of the Highway 55 Bypass.

A three-judge panel at the State Court of Appeals will hear a lawsuit from the town and two citizens groups on Wednesday. Mayor Sears is fighting the landfill on the grounds that it is not an appropriate use of the land.

"This would be the perfect place for commercial development. It will probably cost Wake County $20 to $30 million to make this landfill work, infrastructure, etc.," he said. "I'm suggesting the land is probably worth $20 million."

The landfill site is several hundred feet from a mostly black housing area called Easton Acres. Resident Jerry Franks calls the proposal environmental injustice.

"The property values obviously go down -- the environmental issues with rodents from landfills, birds all over the landfills, methane gas that comes from landfills," Franks said.

Many of the residents who are against the landfill think the whole deal is illegal.

"They did not obtain a permit. They had an application for a permit, but they never obtained a permit," said Anne Allen who opposes the landfill. "They did not do alternative siting. They did not hold public hearings."

County manager David Cooke said the county took the proper steps in this process and will continue pursuing construction of a landfill in Holly Springs.

Cooke also said a new landfill needs to be up and running by August 2004. He said the county will evaluate this situation again next year to see whether operating a landfill at the proposed site would be cost-effective.

Cooke is also looking at whether it would be cheaper to haul the trash somewhere else.


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