Local News

Wake Co. Commissioners Vote In Favor Of Controversial Landfill

Posted June 6, 2006 8:16 a.m. EDT

— The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 on Monday in favor of a controversial landfill project.

The landfill, which would be built on a 471-acre piece of land at Main Street and N.C. Highway 55 in Holly Springs, would provide solid waste disposal to Wake County residents for 25 years, once the current landfill in North Wake County closes in 2008.

"We've had an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate our options, and we are convinced that moving forward with the new South Wake Landfill is in the best interest of the citizens of Wake County," said Wake County Commission Chair Tony Gurley in a news release issued Monday afternoon.

Gurley, along with County Commissioner Kenn Gardner, voted against the landfill.

Gardner, however, did offer an alternative plan that would have only used a small portion of the site for waste and the rest for commercial development.

"If we go down the same path that we've always gone, in 25 years, we'll be giving the same issue back to a new group of board commissioners with fewer options," Gardner said. "And, at the same time, we would have squandered a valuable resource."

But several commissioners who have debated the issue for years said Gardner's plan was proposed too late.

"I find it very difficult to agree at the last minute with his proposal," Commissioner Harold Webb said.

The landfill services contract obligates Waste Industries to design, construct and operate the new landfill, guarantee price based on tons delivered, comply with permit conditions and applicable regulations, and provide environmental monitoring and recording.

Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears, who has been against the plan since it was proposed, has argued in the past that the land would be better used for other purposes.

"Anyone who says putting a dump in the middle of town is a good thing -- it doesn't make any sense," Sears said on Monday. "It's beyond my comprehension."

More than 100 landfill opponents showed up at the Wake County Courthouse in green shirts on Monday in hopes that the county would vote to build a shopping center on the land, instead.

"We're not really surprised," said Holly Springs resident Sam Robbins. "We don't know what anyone has against Holly Springs -- why do they keep doing this to us? I guess we'll just have to make the best of it."

With the exception of Cary and Holly Springs, Wake County's other eight municipalities have supported the landfill, saying the alternative -- sending the county's waste out of the county -- is too expensive for taxpayers.

Construction of the new landfill will begin this summer.