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Wake Commissioners Approve Landfill, Residents Upset

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WAKE COUNTY — One of Wake County's three landfill debates is settled. Commissioners have approved a plan to turn a 32-acre tract of private property north of Raleigh into a landfill for tree and construction debris.

A lot of homeowners who live near the proposed site are very upset by the vote. More than 800 residents signed a petition to keep the landfill out of their neighborhood. But the commissioners who voted for it say the landfill meets the county's regulations and provides a much needed service to a growing area.

People who live in this rural area of northern Wake County say a landfill here will ruin their quality of life.

They're concerned about:
  • Noise
  • "I would say the noise is of grave concern to me," said County Commissioner Betty Lou Ward.
  • Traffic
  • "The roads in the area are less than ideal, the road widths are less than ideal as well as the shoulders, and we believe this is going to continue to mount a traffic concern," said the homeowners' attorney Barbara Jackson.
  • and Property Values
  • "Now if I try to sell my home five years from now, I've got to explain a 70-foot-high compost pile," said homeowner Jerry Lucas.

    But proponents of the landfill say it is desperately needed in the growing county. It will primarily take waste from construction sites. The owner of the land and the developer say the homeowners' concerns are unfounded.

    "It will not significantly impact the land values," said developer Mack Little.

    The county commissioners sided with supporters, approving a special use permit for the landfill by a vote of 4-to-2.

    "Our biggest disappointment is that county commissioners chose to make one person happy and fulfill his needs instead of 1,400 families who live in the area who are going to be voting for them," said Ruth Pleasants.

    The attorney representing the angry homeowners says they can appeal the ruling to the Wake County Superior Court, but she advises they simply keep a close eye on the process.

    Tuesday's special use permit was just the first step in a long line of plans to be approved before the landfill can be built.