Suwannee County Commission Chairman and District 5 representative Wesley Wainwright told the Democrat Thursday morning that while he supports the decision of his fellow commissioners to send a letter to Integrated Waste Management Systems to look elsewhere, he supports the company’s venture.
“I’m supportive of the board but I didn’t want to send the letter,” said Wainwright. “That’s an industrial site that millions of not only our money but state money has been used to attract industry there.”
Four commissioners came to a consensus Tuesday night to send a letter to IWMS officials asking them to not locate their medical waste incinerators in Suwannee County. The next move for IWMS, prior to this consensus, was to ask for the purchase of 25 acres at the catalyst site, land which is county owned. Since there is a quorum to squash that move, Wainwright said he has encouraged IWMS representatives to go ahead and pursue getting land directly from a Jacksonville bank who holds title to some near the catalyst site.
Wainwright said he wanted to give the group “No Bio in Suwannee County” credit for getting four commissioners to make a stance against the incinerators, but right now, Wainwright isn’t budging.
“I applaud their efforts (and getting signed petitions) but that doesn’t represent the majority,” said Wainwright. “At this point, I’m unmoved.”
Wainwright said he wanted to be clear that the public has not been left in the dark. He said that if a development agreement is signed with IWMS, the company would have to appear before the board of county commissioners and the public in two public hearings, regardless if they were seeking catalyst site land or other land in the county. As for commissioners changing the land development regulations to allow companies to locate “by right” at the catalyst site, Wainwright said that skips only one step, and that is having the company, or any company seeking land at the catalyst site, to not go through the zoning board and instead go straight to the county commissioners for two public hearings.
“IWMS or any entity that wants to locate at the catalyst site would have to enter into a development agreement,” said Wainwright.
He also said he is OK with reevaluating the “by right” clause.