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County Council, October 29

To sell a potential municipal solid waste disposal site
But may allow construction and demolition waste disposal at a privately owned and nearby site
Warwick Jones

We were somewhat confused by the action of Council last night. Meeting as the Planning and Public Works Committee, it agreed to put its 750-acre property at Adams Run on the market. The County purchased the property about 20 years ago with the intention of possibly using it as a site for a municipal solid waste landfill when the Bees Ferry Landfill was full. But it signaled that it may give approval for a 313-acre, privately-owned property that is nearby to be used for a private construction and demolition waste landfill.

Decision was previously deferred indefinitely
The 313-acre property is owned by Sheppard Construction Company and fronts Highway 17 South. Very early this year, the company took the first steps in its plan to use the property for construction waste disposal. It made a request to the Planning Commission to amend the County’s Comprehensive Plan and for a Planned Development (PD). The Commission recommended disapproval. A public hearing was held on the request, which according to County records had 10 speakers for the change and 19 against. The request then went to the Committee of Planning and Public Works which deferred a decision for 90 days and then at a subsequent meeting, indefinitely. The Committee did not want to make a decision until the County’s policy on waste disposal was better defined.
 
Some Council members wondered why the issue was again before them as not all the issues relating to the County’s policy had been worked out. But as one Council member said, the applicant could not be blamed for wanting a decision.
 
Deferred again but not indefinitely
Council member McKeown moved that a decision again be deferred and that, in the meantime, staff was to study the applicant’s proposed plan and determine;

• if it is consistent with those parts of the County’s waste disposal policy already established
• if the applicant will agree, for a fee or license agreement, to collect and dispose of construction waste in the County,
• if the applicant is willing enter into a long-term contract with the County for storm debris disposal
• if the applicant will meet a recycling goal of 25% at minimum.
 
Another public hearing
There wasn’t much discussion about the motion except about the absence of another public hearing. A hearing was deemed necessary and added to the motion with Council member Rawl insisting that all entities involved, such as the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), be invited to speak.
 
The public hearing is scheduled for December 1 and the Planning and Public Works meeting on December 3 where presumably a final decision will be made.
 
Sale of County owned land may be more symbolic
The proposed sale of the County-owned property may be more symbolic than anything else. The County has received a lot of flack over the last few years for its waste disposal methods. In consequence, the incinerator in North Charleston is to be closed at the end of this year because of protests by nearby residents over the stench and pollution, and plans for the Bees Ferry land fill have been modified, largely because of its visual impact.
 
The County is still shaping plans for the future and the only things that are certain are a higher percentage of recycling, a limited use of the Bees Ferry landfill, the closure of the incinerator, and now, the abandonment of the Adams Run property as a possible destination for waste.
 
Our issue is whether the Adams Run property should be sold. The present is not a good time for selling land with sales very slow. Maybe the County might consider it for a park or greenspace. The latter may not be good ideas but at least they should be considered.
 
The County may be trying to avoid a future confrontation by selling its own land at Adams Run, effectively taking it off the table for future consideration. But if it agrees to the PD on the Sheppard tract, it will be facing a fight, probably as intense as that over using its own property for waste disposal.