Complaints compel council to nix Indian Land recycling center

joverman@fortmilltimes.comMarch 4, 2013 

— Lancaster County’s plans to build a convenience site – a center for household garbage and recycling – near a park on Shelley Mullis Road have been canceled because of a rain of complaints from the public.

Nearby resident Stephen Bailey said the park and surrounding area are unsuitable for a convenience site.

“Who puts a dump near a park?” he said.

In addition to concerns about noise, pollution and safety, he worried about animals being attracted to the trash.

“We’re going to get wildlife coming to eat trash and bring in diseases, and children will get bit by rabid animals,” he said.

The county had applied for a variance to build a convenience site next to Deputy Roy Hardin Park on Shelley Mullis Road. County ordinances require that convenience sites be a minimum of 500 feet from parks. The variance would allow the county to build the center closer to the park than the allowed 500 feet.

Originally, the plan was to locate the convenience center approximately 200 feet from the park.

After a “significant expression of concern” from the public last week, Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said a second plan was created to located the convenience center at the back of the property, farther away from the park. By Monday morning, the plan for the center had been scrapped altogether.

Willis stressed that the convenience site was intended to be temporary while the county searched for a suitable permanent convenience center site, but that did not calm residents’ concerns. The county has been operating a convenience site on Jim Wilson Road but has to close it at the end of March because the owner of the property is a home builder who is expanding a new home community on the property.

With little time to find a new convenience center site, the county has been scrambling for a location.

Five acres of land are needed for a permanent site, he said, as well as good road access, utilities and convenience to residents without infringing on neighbors.

“I’m not sure that really exists in the [Indian Land] Panhandle,” Willis said.

Until a suitable location is found, Willis said that residents are allowed to use the Foxhole Recycling Center across the state line in North Carolina.

One of Bailey’s primary concerns about the center was its proximity to his neighborhood, Shelley Woods.

Property values could suffer, he said.

“I moved to my neighborhood and we had a park there dedicated to a fallen deputy and it was a good selling point to my house, but now when people go to move here they aren’t going to want to move to a house by a dump,” Bailey said.

Realtor Kathryn Miller said that Bailey might be right.

“Quite frankly, that could be a real negative for the neighborhood. It would increase traffic there and I would think buyers are so picky now that the feeling they get as they go into the neighborhood could be hurt a little bit. From an aesthetic perspective, it could be detrimental,” she said.

Lancaster County Councilman Brian Carnes, one of two members who represent Indian Land, said he received several emails from concerned residents but last week wasn’t sure that he was prepared to take a stand for or against the issue.

“I’m studying it now,” he said.

More time to find a suitable site would have been ideal, he added.

“We could have done a better job planning this,” he said.

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