Jun 17, 2008

CHAPEL HILL — The Orange County Board of Commissioners heard a list
of criteria on which site selection for a transfer waste station
should be based from a consulting company at its meeting Monday night.

And among the “extremely important criteria” included environmental
justice considerations.

The commissioners had decided to put the transfer station on Eubanks
Road, but after protests from residents in that area who have for
decades put up with the stench and discomfort of living near the
landfill, the commissioners decided to reopen the search process.

The site on Eubanks Road has not been excluded from the list, and
under some of the recommended criteria it’s likely to be one of the
highest-ranking sites in terms of location and access to highways.

But other criteria, including environmental justice and proximity to
schools, parks and churches, could lower its ranking.

Consultants Olver, Inc., recommended ranking criteria as “very
important” — with a weight of 10 — to the following: a location
close to the central population district of Chapel Hill and Carrboro;
access to major transportation routes; a minimum of 25-acre parcel
size; whether the truck traffic from the site is compatible with
traffic in the area; and the size of the natural buffer.

After hearing about the importance of the 25-acre parcel size, the
question was raised as to the size of the site on Eubanks Road is. The
answer was four to five acres, but overall it is part of a 200-acre

Asked whether that meant the Eubanks Road site would be excluded based
on size, no one answered.

Olver also presented criteria for the community that will be near the
site. It recommends environmental justice considerations and adjacent
land uses, such as parks, schools and churches, be considered
“extremely important” with a weight of 15.

Because the people living near Eubanks Road, where the landfill has
been located, it’s likely that the Eubanks Road site would be the site
receiving the top consideration for that criteria because of many
broken promises regarding locating and expanding the landfill in that

A school and park are also being built in the area.

The commissioners also said bicycle routes should be a consideration.

“If we’re serious about getting bicycle transportation routes, we
shouldn’t have big trucks coming down it,” Gordon said.

Once the board makes its final decision on the ranking and weights of
the various criteria, Olver will begin ranking various sites based on
that information and present a list to the commissioners of possible
sites in order of rank.