Waste facility won't be seen, expert says


Elkridge residents and businesses may not even know a proposed 17-acre waste transfer station is in their midst because of extensive landscaping plans intended to hide the much-opposed facility, an urban planner testified at a Zoning Board hearing last week.

Browning-Ferris Inc. has asked the Howard County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, to approve the station off U.S. 1 on Cemetery Lane in Elkridge. A transfer station consolidates and prepares trash for transport to a landfill.

A 12-foot berm and other landscaping plans will create an "envelop around the property to provide screening" for surrounding residences, shopping centers and business parks, said Alfred Blumberg, a Rockville planner hired by BFI.

He was one of three witnesses BFI's attorney presented Thursday in a case that will continue for at least four more hearings next month. BFI is expected to complete its case at the next hearing March 5.

Residents should be able to present their case March 6. Most of the opponents argue that the transfer station would be out of place amid the residential areas and office parks on U.S. 1 and would increase truck traffic along the busy artery.

But Blumberg testified that the 17-acre site is appropriate for the transfer station.

Because a recycling center BFI operates is on the same plot of land, adding the station would be "an efficient use of land," Blumberg said. He added that the site is also suitable because of its proximity to Interstate 95, Route 100 and U.S. 1.

BFI's request is being heard as the county is about to begin a three-year, $3.6 million contract with USA Waste, which operates a transfer station for residential trash in Anne Arundel County, five miles from the proposed BFI site.

The county zoning and planning boards first approved the BFI proposal in 1994.

An appeal by owners of a neighboring industrial park reached the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which ruled in April that the zoning panel had been wrong to give BFI the go-ahead because the county did not properly notify the public of changes in the proposal.

BFI renewed its request last year.

Pub Date: 2/10/97

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