January 8, 2014
Albemarle County supervisors and residents talked about trash for more than three hours at the first board meeting of the year.
Hundreds of people who live in southern Albemarle County have spoken out, saying the county's plan to build a trash and recycling convenience center in the area would be nothing but inconvenient for them.
Supervisors had previously decided to build three convenience centers around the county to replace services when the contract expired for the Ivy Materials Utilization Center. County officials say the goal was better accessibility and cutting costs.
The southern site would be the first of the three. The board was looking at Mill Creek Drive and Esmont Road as possible locations.
But residents from both areas turned up in big numbers Wednesday to say they weren't on board with the board.
"Everybody here decides what services we want you to provide," county resident John Martin told supervisors. "We decide. You don't tell us what services you're willing to provide."
"Take a look at what you're doing to us in our nice little rural, quiet town. You'll put a dump there among us right in the middle of Keene," said Peggy Boatwright, who's lived in Keene for nearly five decades.
Some residents told the board they fear traffic will become a problem while others say its proximity to schools and neighborhoods would be unfair.
"It is baffling to me that a committee would decide that the best place to put a dump is nearby four schools. To put a dump next to people who cannot vote not to have it is the antithesis of democracy," one student said.
"I would never have bought a house in Mill Creek if I had known a dump was going to be there," said Mary Maldonado. "And I can guarantee you that future home buyers are going feel the same way. Our property values will go down."
Several people mentioned they would prefer the county continue its service at the Ivy facility.
After listening to every public comment, the board unanimously voted to extend its contract with the Ivy site until June 30, 2015.
The decision is a sigh of relief for many opposed to the proposed sites, but they say they don't just want an extension -- they want the possible Keene or Mill Creek site off the table completely.
Their wish could be granted, as the board also voted to suspend further consideration of any convenience center location until the county completes an evaluation of long-term strategies for solid waste management services.