RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Richardson has been the site of a heated debate over the expansion of a trash collection facility for the past year and a half.
On Monday night, opponents had their chance to express serious concerns over the project to the Richardson City Council.
“Not in my backyard” is a common rally cry for neighbors who don’t want a landfill near their homes. But for residents in the Sherrill Park neighborhood of East Richardson it’s too late. The landfill is already there.
The Lookout Drive Transfer Station is a place where trash is stored until it can be hauled off to the main landfill in Melissa.
“The big issue every day, except Sunday is noise. Continued noise: beep, beep, beep, beep, beep” says Sherrill Park resident George Human.
Every day, large trucks bring in an average of 400 tons of garbage from Collin County to the transfer station. The North Texas Municipal Water District, which operates the facility, wants to increase that over the next eight years to an average of 625 tons.
“More trash means more noise, more pollution, more trucks. It has a much bigger impact on the quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods,” says neighbor Maitri Smithhisler.
Bike trails, parks and nearly 800 family homes surround the open-air transfer station. Residents argue that more garbage will only trash their neighborhood. So they packed city hall and took a list of demands to the Richardson council.
“My big issue is with the environment,” says neighbor Sherrill Bodie.
Joe Stankiewicz with the water district says as Collin County grows, so must the Lookout Drive station to keep up with trash demands. “The facility needs to be replaced. There needs to be additional capacity based on the growth in the service area.“
The council reached a compromise with the opposition, voting to approve increasing the amount of garbage to their landfill while capping the amount so it will never go any higher.
Neighbors say they are willing to accept an increase of 625 tons day, providing that the trash facility meets 16 protections, including erecting sound barriers, implementing odor and pest control and developing a means to control wind-blown litter.
The municipal water district says the neighbors’ concerns will be addressed once the new transfer station is operational in 2014. The new facility will be built right next to the old one and will be completely enclosed.