Ordinance under review for trash transfer stations

Friday, January 2, 2009

To restrict the location of a trash transfer station in Lewisburg, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to change its zoning code so that if such a facility is to be established in the city, it must be on land classified as suitable for a landfill.

That step was taken during a special called meeting of the Council in City Hall where Mayor Bob Phillips's explanation of he legal situation is similar to what the city did when it felt obliged to make accommodations for adult book stores or strip tease joints.

Businesses that may well be viewed as offensive to some people have a right to operate but municipalities are authorized to say where they may be located. Therefore, the city has listed exotic dance performances as a legal business in an industrial zone, and now the Council is well on its way to make trash transfer stations a suitable business in a special industrial zone.

As Marshall County has hired a consultant for advice on how to be ready if and when Cedar Ridge Landfill is closed, the idea of having a trash transfer station has become a topic of discussion among local leaders.

The proposed ordinance to change the current zoning ordinance also addresses permitted laces for transfer stations dealing with recyclable materials. Those would be allowed in an intermediate business zone, according to the proposed change to the zoning code.

Amending ordinances in Lewisburg requires three affirmative votes during three separate meetings of the Council. The third and final vote on this proposed change would be conducted on Jan. 13 during the regular monthly meeting that starts at 6 p.m. that Tuesday. A public hearing on the matter would be conducted before the regular meeting convenes.

The proposed ordinance includes additional requirements for establishment of transfer stations, be they for household garbage or recyclable paper, plastic and metal.

Approval for the location of such transfer stations would be required by the City Council and the Marshall County Commission.

Five requirements on the operation of a trash transfer station include a prohibition against fires. Dust is to be contained by a spray of water or other approved liquids. The buildings will be subjected to certain setback requirements to afford a separation between the road and building.

Four requirements are listed for operations of a recyclable materials transfer station. Tires and fires are prohibited. Separation, or picking through the recyclables shall be conducted indoors.

Discussion among the mayor and three councilmen present indicated that pre-existing operations would be covered by common law grandfather rights.

Lewisburg's City Council received the proposed ordinance after it was reviewed by the city's Planing Commission and forwarded to a favorable recommendation, Phillips said.