Suwannee Democrat

December 4, 2012

County adopts landfill language

New text will protect the county from future placements of landfills

Bryant Thigpen
Suwannee Democrat

Live Oak — See Friday’s edition of The Democrat Says, page 6A, for related commentary.

The Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners held their second and final public hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and voted unanimously to adopt ordinances that would amend the comprehensive plan and land development regulations that will provide protection in the county from the placement of landfills. 
The adoption of the language to protect the county came after interest by Cross Environmental Resources Management, LLC last year to place a landfill just north of the city of Live Oak limits, near I-10 and US 129 North. Frank Darabi, an agent for CERM, said that the proposed landfill would not be visible from the road, but local officials were concerned about more than what meets the eye. One concern was that this proposed landfill would be near the city’s newly installed $3 million water tower and well fields.

The Live Oak City Council formally announced their decision to oppose the proposed solid waste facility on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 and just days later, the Economic Alliance joined them.

On Dec. 5, 2011 the company withdrew their application.

County commissioners voted unanimously on Jan. 3 to pass a six month moratorium on landfills, stating “a recent application for a special permit to locate a solid waste facility in the county revealed a discrepancy in the county’s land development regulations.”

Changes to the ordinances began in January with special called meetings and numerous workshops to redevelop the language that existed in the land development regulations.

County Administrator Randy Harris reiterated that the process to amend these regulations has been a lengthy one. Once a proposed set of rules are written to the satisfaction of local authorities, those amendments to the comprehensive plan are sent to the state office for approval. If approved by the state, changes can be made locally to the land development regulations. According to Planning and Zoning Director Ron Meeks, the adoption of the new language provides the county with protection for the placement of landfills.

Tuesday night, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve ordinances that would reshape landfill regulations.

“These ordinances regulate placement of landfills in the county,” Harris said.