Convenience center on hold due to resident complaints

Published 11:43 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors tabled a proposal to establish a trash disposal convenience site on Oral Oaks Road after area residents turned out in opposition.

Instead, board members asked the residents to help find another location for the site in the vicinity.

“What we need you all to do is help us find some property,” Supervisor Alvester Edmonds told them.

Edmonds made the request after opponents insisted that a convenience site on the area of Oral Oaks Road and Red Level Lane would attract wild animals, stink and lower property values.

“It’s just going to be negative to us and our quality of life,” said Mike Champion, of Red Level Lane. “You’re messing up our lives and the rest of these people’s lives and I don’t think it’s fair.”

Ronald Bates, who lives on Red Level Lane, said his is one of three families that would be directly affected by development of the convenience center. He told the board that if they approved the site, he would sell his home.

“What happens when we put out food for our pets?” he asked rhetorically. “I don’t want to walk out into my garage and there is a bear.”

The supervisors held a public hearing on plans to put a trash disposal convenience center on about 3.5 acres of a 30-acre site during their Thursday meeting. The planning commission earlier voted to recommend approval of the project, with the condition that Red Level Lane be widened or improved to accommodate the additional traffic.

Officials told opponents that the county is trying to make sure every resident in Lunenburg is within approximately five miles of a site, and, as it stands, they won’t be.

“They have to know the open tops are going to be gone and they won’t have (anywhere nearby) to dump their trash,” Supervisor Robert Zava said.

The county is as quickly as possible phasing out the “open top” sites — locations where open dumpsters sit for anyone to dispose of whatever trash.

Board members said that because these sites are unsupervised items that should not be disposed of with household trash, or should be recycled, end up being thrown into them. Consequently, when a fire starts in one of them, local firefighters are cautious because they have no idea what is in the dumpster, supervisors said.

The county has whittled the number of open top sites down from 49 to 12, said Beverley Hawthorne, the county’s economic and community development director.

The county is also still looking for a site to establish a convenience center near Route 138 south of Brickland Road.

The collection sites are in a fenced in area that keeps animals out, and are manned so that someone monitors what is disposed of, and also makes sure that trash is picked up around them, Hawthorne said There is also recycling at the locations, she said.

“It is definitely an improvement from anywhere we have open top cans,” she said.

Edmonds noted that the county has looked for a location in the area for two and a half years.

“We just didn’t find it,” he said.