Residents say they are still fighting against trash site

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Residents of Red Level Lane may have temporarily blocked plans to put a convenience center on their road, but now they are trying to make sure that the effort is not revived.

Ronald Bates, who lives on the road and was one of the residents to take his complaints before the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors in June, said they worry that county leaders may not be diligent about looking elsewhere to locate the center.

Instead, opponents of placing the center in the area of Oral Oaks Road and Red Level Lane have continued to push their cause. From the start, they have insisted that the site would attract wild animals, stink and lower property values.

In a Wednesday, July 6, guest column in the Dispatch headlined “She doesn’t want a dump site,” Karla Sickerott wondered if the Lunenburg County Planning Commission, which signed off on the proposed site, “even considered the impact of their proposal on the area residents, or are they merely wanting to check the box and just move on? What about the quality of life for the residents of Red Level Lane? Who is going to stand up for us? We pay our share of taxes to support the county, and we should have a say in what happens in our county with those dollars.”

She also called it “noteworthy” that the owner of the property who was willing to subdivide his acreage for the county is an absentee landowner and lives nowhere near the proposed site.

“We have been advised that he is unwilling to sell the proposed acreage to the residents of Red Level Lane, that he will only agree to sell his entire 30-acre parcel to the residents; whereas, he is certainly willing to sell only 3.5 acres to the county for the proposed trash site,” she wrote.

In another guest column titled “There has to be a better place” appearing the same date, Karen Champion said residents of Red Level Lane and Hidden Lane who will be directly impacted by the proposed site do not oppose the idea of convenience centers.

“A center that we could frequent in the area would be a welcomed change to the open dumpsters we now have to look at on a daily basis,” she wrote. “At the same time, we would prefer to drive more than five miles to a site as opposed to having it at the entrance to our neighborhood and having to deal with increased traffic and the site of dumpsters on a daily basis. You do know that the centers are open on the weekends as well. Many of us have guests and family visit frequently. What a lovely first impression that is going to make as they enter the neighborhood.”

“None of us want it. It’s just as simple as that,” Bates said.

Bates, who said the site would be “in my front yard,” insists he is willing to organize trash pickup and take it to the Oral Oaks collection center if that would keep the center from being placed near his home.

The site would directly adversely affect three homes, and two of those are occupied by African-American families, Bates said, adding, “I’m not trying to inject race into” it.

Bates said he owns 17 acres and would certainly sell his land and move if the center is built.

In June, supervisors tabled the proposal to establish the trash disposal convenience site after area residents turned out in opposition. Board members ended up instead asking the residents to help find another location for the site in the vicinity.

Officials told opponents that the county is trying to make sure every resident in Lunenburg is within approximately five miles of a site.

Supervisor Alvester Edmonds noted at the time that the county has looked for a location in the area for 2 ½ years, and “We just didn’t find it.”