A show of hands from the Bryan County Commissioners proved Tuesday that the voices of many county residents had been heard during the past several months as the board unanimously voted 4-0 before a standing room-only crowd to deny requests for ordinance changes from landfill developer Atlantic Waste Services.
The denial at Tuesday’s regular scheduled meeting in the County Administrative Complex came after a unanimous recommendation from the county Planning and Zoning Commission to disapprove the requests, and also after months of supportive efforts from Atlantic Waste and opposing efforts from an organized group of citizens against the landfill.
One of those citizens, Roy Goodman, said he was a happy man Tuesday as he shook hands and celebrated with other opponents in the room after the vote.
“We did it,” he said. “We did it.”
Goodman also said that the vote by commissioners made the citizens’ hard work worth all the time and effort.
But unlike Goodman and many others Tuesday, representatives from Atlantic Waste expressed feelings of disappointment.
“I’m disappointed that the commissioners voted the way they did but I certainly understand and I also understand the fears the people here have,” Burke Wall, president of Atlantic Waste Services said. “But I think that a lot of that fear is unjustified because maybe we didn’t do as good a job of educating them as we could have.”
Commissioner Carter Infinger moved to deny the request, and Commissioner Joe Kendrick gave the second. The motion passed 5-0 with Commissioner Glen Willard absent.
Though commissioners were voting only on a request for ordinance amendments — not the actual plans for the landfill — Tuesday’s decision essentially created a dead end for Atlantic Wastes’ plans for the proposed 268-acre solid waste landfill in the Black Creek community of North Bryan.
The solid waste management company was seeking changes to the county’s ordinance relating to waste management districts that the company claimed prohibits a landfill from being built in the county.
The amendments would have allowed a landfill to be built on a county road, something that is currently prohibited, and would have lessened the required setbacks between a landfill and a water source from 1,000 feet to 500 feet. It also would have allowed a waste management district to be built in a wetlands area.
The proposed location was in Commissioner Wade Price’s district, District 2, and he said he voted against the ordinance changes because most of his constituents were against it.
“Most of them were happy, I think, with the way (the vote) went,” Price said Thursday. “There are a few probably not too happy about it, but that’s the way it is. We’ve got tough decisions to make at times.”
Read more in the Dec. 17 edition of the News.