Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Dade City landfill seeks permission to process tire waste

DADE CITY — The last time Angelo's Aggregate Materials sought to expand, it sparked a war that shows no signs of stopping even six years later.

Now the company, which remains locked in a legal battle with the county and state to build a controversial household garbage landfill east of Dade City, has made a new request that has generated far fewer fireworks. It wants permission to shred waste tires and crush asphalt and concrete on the site of its existing construction and demolition debris landfill next door on Enterprise Road.

In this case, the county staff is recommending approval.

"There have been numerous issues between Angelo's Aggregate and the county during the past years. Many of these issues have centered on the desire of Angelo's to locate a sanitary landfill on their property located across from Enterprise Road on the current site," county growth management administrator Richard Gehring wrote in a memo to the county's top officials, who sit as the Development Review Committee. "While those are ongoing concerns, it is the opinion of staff that approval of these activities is not a 'foot-in-the-door' to sanitary landfilling and does not set any precedent for Angelo's proposed sanitary landfill."

Angelo's has operated the construction landfill since 2004. It has a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection for waste tire processing at the site.

But because the company lacks county permission to process such waste, it turns it away when it finds it in loads as haulers bring it in. If it's found later, the company has to transport the waste somewhere else.

"The applicant would like to be able to process on-site," Gehring's memo said. "Additionally, the site will become the destination for licensed waste tire haulers."

To process the waste, the company needs the county to make land-use and zoning changes. It plans to make that request today at the Development Review Committee meeting set for 1:30 p.m. at the historic courthouse in Dade City.

Jake Varn, a lobbyist and a spokesman for Angelo's said Wednesday that the tire shredding and asphalt/concrete crushing facilities are "very common" in construction debris landfills.

He said the company requested permission but was turned down initially because the staff said the 38-acre project was too extensive and needed the land-use change to be legal.

"This is the path we both agreed to take to avoid any controversy," Varn said.

The request drew no opposition from the group that has been fighting the proposed household garbage landfill for the past six years.

"The (construction debris landfill) is already there, so it's their right to do this," said Carl Roth, spokesman for Protecting Florida's Legacy, one of the main citizen groups fighting the new landfill. "There's not anything we can do."

Robert Thomas, whose family owns nearby Crystal Springs, which supplies water for Nestle bottled products, said he wishes all Angelo's landfills in the area were gone.

"It needs to be shut down," he said. "It was a bad idea to approve in the first place."

Thomas, along with large landowner Bill Blanchard, has been a fierce opponent in Angelo's efforts to build a private household garbage landfill in east Pasco. So have several county and city governments who have expressed concerns that its proximity to the Green Swamp would pollute drinking water.

DEP officials recently rejected a new permit application from Angelo's to build a scaled-down 30-acre household garbage landfill on the site. That was the second permit rejection since 2009. Angelo's is now appealing the 2009 decision to an administrative law judge.

The company has also sued the county saying it enacted new rules designed to prohibit the household garbage landfill from being built.

Circuit Judge Linda Babb recently tossed the case out, saying the complaint was premature because the county had not actually rejected a request from Angelo's.

Rancher Thomas compared the drawn-out battle to a horror film.

"Jamie Lee Curtis keeps killing it," he said. "But it just keeps getting back up."

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