DADE CITY — Even with its request for a state permit tied up in appeals, the company that wants to build a controversial private landfill recently tweaked its plans on file with Pasco County.
The most significant change? Angelo's Aggregate Materials, which originally proposed a 1,000-acre landfill near the Green Swamp and the Withlacoochee River, dropped the portion of its plans dedicated to a construction debris pit, county officials said. The project would still handle household garbage.
Commissioner Ted Schrader believes the tweaking is part of a legal strategy to keep the project active amid a pending amendment to Pasco's land-use plan that could make it much harder for Angelo's to build a landfill on that property.
"It's really not a new application," said Schrader. "It appears to me it's a strategic move to keep the (county land-use request) active."
Angelo's representatives could not be reached Friday afternoon.
Angelo's had been pursuing its state environmental permit and the necessary land-use changes in Pasco at the same time.
All eyes turned to action at the state level last year after the Department of Environmental Protection rejected Angelo's request for the permit to build and operate the landfill. Among the reasons was a 2007 sinkhole, singled out by state officials as a key flaw in the project
Angelo's has since appealed that decision. A hearing is tentatively set for March.
In the meantime, Pasco commissioners gave their blessing last summer to a land-use change that would allow landfills for household garbage only on property designated for public and semi-public use.
Angelo's property is classified agricultural/residential. The company would face a much tougher battle to build a landfill there because it would first need to get its land reclassified.
At the time, Angelo's lawyer, Jerry Figurski, protested the measure, arguing that it was aimed at his client.
The land-use change, along with a number of others, are currently pending before the state Department of Community Affairs.
Schrader speculated that Angelo's wants to keep its plans in the pipeline if those land-use changes go through so that it can argue that its proposal should be grandfathered in. The company made its tweaks about three weeks ago after speaking with zoning administrator Debra Zampetti about what Pasco needed to process the application, said Schrader, who learned of the news only Friday.
The landfill has been a huge issue in Schrader's district. Neighbors, east Pasco organizations and the cities of Tampa and Temple Terrace have opposed it, warning of traffic problems, sinkholes and threats to drinking water.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6247.