Landfill ruling in panel's lap

Friday, October 16, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON -- A Warren County commissioner deciding the landfill controversy in Union Township knows what she wants for Christmas -- a final vote on the proposed waste site.

"I'd like to see us vote by Christmas," Commissioner Pat Arnold South said Thursday.

Ms. South is one of the three commissioners who will decide the fate of a proposed landfill next to the Bigfoot Run waste site.

On Wednesday, the five-member Warren County Zoning Commission voted 3-2 against recommending a zoning variance for the landfill. Dubbed "Bigfoot II" by owners of the current landfill -- Browning-Ferris Industries of Ohio Inc. (BFI) -- its future rests in the votes of the county commissioners.

Ms. South said she would like to see BFI and opponents of Bigfoot II each receive a day of public testimony to commissioners prior to their rendering a final decision.

"I'm anticipating long, drawn-out presentations. It's a hot issue in the county, and it'll be a tough decision," she said. Previous public meetings have drawn hundreds of Warren County residents, most of them opposed to Bigfoot II or any other landfill in the county.

Other commissioners were unavailable for comment. No dates for the public meetings, which will likely occur in two months, have been set by the commissioners.

Ms. South declined to reveal her position on the proposed landfill, which would replace Bigfoot Run as the only operating landfill in the county after it closes in May. "Our goal is to do what is best for the entire county," she said.

She did say, however, that commissioners "will take the recommendations of the zoning board and the regional planning committee into consideration." Last month, the Warren County Regional Planning Commission also voted against recommending Bigfoot II. Neither planning commission nor zoning board recommendations are binding on commissioners. If BFI wins both county and state approval, the Bigfoot II landfill could be operating by summer.

But time is short, said Rob Dolder, district vice president of BFI.

"The sooner the better. We're running out of time," he said in reference to the pending closing date for Bigfoot Run after it reaches capacity in May. "Warren County needs a landfill and the commissioners know that," he said.

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