[UPDATE]
The meeting started out with a set of criticisms, especially from Barry Jacobs, about the consultant’s work product and process. “This is not the process we agreed to…” sums up the majority’s concerns.

I called for a reworking of both the process and the criteria used to determine the siting of the transfer facility, including suggesting a “matrix decision” process (Trash Talk: Systematic Is The New Watchword). As such, I agree that this wasn’t the process the BOCC wanted or asked for. I understand that during the summer it is more difficult to track progress of ongoing projects. That said, the BOCC knew that this particular issue required more oversight than usual and should have been prepared for substantive process this evening.

Nice if they had “got it done”, as one public commenter said.

In any case, it appears that the Eubanks road location is slated to be bumped on community concerns putting Hillsborough’s sites squarely at the top of list. It will be interesting to see how that discussion plays out.

Here (“Rogers Road Community:A Unified Front”) is a collection of background information.

[ORIGINAL]

Starting in the middle with community input.

First, room is packed to the point the fire marshal has asked that folks move out into the hall. Haven’t seen this many folks in the room in quite awhile…

Using the matrix decision process I suggested last year (Trash Talk: Systematic Is The New Watchword), the BOCC just agreed to apply the community criteria to the selection of a site from the top ten. Eleven sites were winnowed out of hundreds based on exclusionary and technical requirements. One of those was dropped because of an existing preservation agreement.

First up Rev. Campbell steps up and hands the BOCC two stacks of comments – each the size of a NY City phone book – and says “here’s some community comment” to get us started.

Next is Rev. Eaton (James B. corrected me, that was “Pastor Rick Edens from the UCC church on Airport “), calling on site #4, the existing Eubanks site, to be dropped.

UNC environmental graduate says that NC is the only state which has studied siting waste management and that, in general, those with little political power get stuck with the garbage.

Neloa Jones points out that if Federal EPA guidelines for site selection had been followed that Eubanks would have never made it to the list of ten. She asks that ALL the criteria be applied before any of the sites be eliminated but then continues by citing the relevant guidelines underlining that Eubanks Site #669 be eliminated. She finishes by saying “vote tonight”, “let it end tonight”.

Rev. Campbell is back. He handed in 340 community criteria comment forms. “36 years” is enough. 36 years of tainted ground water, unsafe roadways, etc. means there is no social justice for this community – in fact for all the citizens of Orange County. He calls on the BOCC to protect all residents – to protect their environment – to protect their rights. “Make the right decision. Remove site #669″.

Mike Gerry – Hillsborough board member – asks why two of the top sites are in the Eno River Economic development zone. Was quite concerned that his committee is just now finding out about those site selections. Wishes they had been involved earlier in the process.

I suggested earlier (2035: Orange County’s Garbage Center of Gravity) that these sites would actually function as an economic resource going forward. Not only being sited in a zone already set aside for commercial development, both sites are close to rail access.

Another representative from Hillsborough is pointing out that the two top sites (based on the exclusionary and technical criteria) will negatively impact Hillsborough’s development. You think that these sites aren’t in somebody’s backyards back “this is in Hillsborough’s backyard”. A backyard that Hillsborough already has planned to develop for its economic well-being.

Nate – environmental engineer with extensive background in site selection. In professional opinion the county’s consultants used subjective criteria in scoring Eubanks in an effort to depress its chances. First example – transit access on Eubanks should score higher given I40 access and existing road improvements. Second, existing site improvements on Eubanks makes it more technically superior than the score indicates. Third, existing perception that the 2011 closure will bring “a pristine meadow”, that isn’t the case. He’s trying to make the case that the technical and exclusionary criteria were biased and not objective in order to create a political excuse to remove Eubanks.

Unfortunately some folks are trying to drown this citizen out. His comments show that he hasn’t been following the story as closely as he maybe should to apply his professional opinion. He finishes by addressing the environmental justice consideration by calling on the BOCC to provide tax breaks, development funds, etc. to reward those neighborhoods. Of course, this means he doesn’t know that promises made to these neighborhoods have been ignored for over 36 years.

Jim Ciao – local developer for Waterstone – who is developing neighborhoods near site #573. They put $28 million into economic development where the OC and the BOCC asked them to put it. Is afraid that #573 will negatively impact their development.

Two more Hillsborough citizens pipe up that the entrance to Hillsborough shouldn’t be blighted by trash trucks. Jo Soulier says she doesn’t want to tell visitors that “instead of using Google to find Hillsborough just follow the trash trucks.”

Rogers Road resident Ken Meardon gets up to respond “to the lady who was concerned about following the trucks…imagine telling [folks] to follow the trucks to your house as I have these last 36 years.”

Kevin Wolff steps up and reiterates his opposition to the Rogers Road site. Asks that the commissioners begin to consider keeping our trash in county and not dumping it on another community. He points out that the costs for transporting our trash problem is only going to increase and calls for a resolution that will economically address our waste now and in the future.

Barry Jacobs wraps the session by reiterating that the community criteria will be applied by the next meeting and the final slate will be ready for community discussion.

Final tally – at 6:30pm the fire marshal counted 184 folks at the meeting.

[UPDATE Matt Dee's N&O report here. ]

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