UPDATE: Hamilton County Commission approves Birchwood landfill
The debate over a proposed landfill continues ahead of Wednesday's vote, when Hamilton County commissioners will make a decision.
UPDATE: Developers have been given the green light to move forward with a construction and debris landfill in Harrison.
Commissioners voted Wednesday allowing 25 acres to be rezoned for the landfill.
"We need for growth this type of dump. Do we need it there? I don't know," District 6 Commissioner Joe Graham said prior to the vote.
It was a decision that came down to one thing.
"We need a place to put construction debris. We need this county to remain competitive in construction processes," District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd said before the vote.
Earnie Burfitt has stood against the 25-acre landfill in Harrison since it was first proposed.
He worries it would decrease property values and contaminate the nearby Tennessee River.
"I understand their view that there's a need for it. However, had they done some investigating into the dump that's already there, the Chattanooga city landfill, is barely used," he said.
Burfitt said residents against the landfill are not done fighting yet.
They plan on challenging the permit process every step of the way.
"Our chief concern truly is the county has lost control by approving this. The control goes to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and unfortunate they do not have the best track record," Burfitt added.
The developer, Greg Krum, said it will be at least a year before the landfill is up and running.
District 9 (where the landfill will be located) Commissioner Chester Bankston and Graham voted against the proposal.
PREVIOUS STORY: Wednesday morning, the Hamilton County Commission voted 7-2 to approve the proposed landfill near the Morning Glory Farms subdivision.
PREVIOUS STORY: The debate over a proposed landfill continues ahead of Wednesday's vote, when Hamilton County commissioners will make a decision.
Residents in Morning Glory Farms subdivision worry their drinking water may be affected.
It sits a few feet from where a proposed 25-acre landfill is slated to go.
"Very alarming. I don't want to open my faucet and have drinking water that's coming from underground through pipes and things like that could potentially be contaminated for months and years to come," Andy Mullins said.
Mullins is building a house near the proposed site.
He wants commissions to come see the area, and it's elevation, for themselves before Wednesday's vote.
"Where all the runoff is going to go? It can do nothing but go downhill," he added.
Developer, Greg Krum presented his plans to commissioners last week.
He says a tank would keep runoff from reaching nearby waterways.
He also says the landfill wouldn't create problems but fix a growing one in the area.
"This is really going to stop other, illegal landfills. There's two going on in Harrison right now that we know of that are illegal dumps. So, if we don't approve this, we're just going to see more and more of this illegal dumping," Krum told commissioners last week.
It's a waiting game for those on both sides, leaving Mullins to weigh what a decision could mean for his investment.
"My fear is, if it is something we put up a piece of property for sale, we immediately lose property value. And I could immediately be going backwards in my investment," he said.
Commissioners voted on proposed landfills in this area before.
They denied proposals in 1971 and 2007.
We'll be there Wednesday and let you know what is decided.
PREVIOUS STORY: Plans for a new landfill in Harrison may be on hold before having the chance to move forward.
Commissioners heard arguments from those for and against the proposal.
It's slated to go next to an existing one on Bryan Road and would only take construction materials and debris.
Commissioners were presented with a petition of more than 2,000 signatures of those against the proposal and reasons why those who live in the area don't want another landfill in their backyard.
"Harrison is not remote anymore. Harrison is a beautiful place in Hamilton County. There are other places, I'm certain, in Hamilton County that are still remote and we would not have runoff going into the Tennessee River," John Chenkus said.
Those against the 25-acre landfill believe chemicals from construction waste and debris would seep into local waterways, hurting the environment and wildlife.
But developers say state and federal regulations and plans to include a tank to collect any runoff waste water would prevent that from happening.
The developer, Greg Krum, told commissioners Wednesday he believes the landfill would serve as a fix to a growing problem in the area.
"This is really going to stop other, illegal landfills. There's two going on in Harrison right now that we know of that are illegal dumps. So, if we don't approve this, we're just going to see more and more of this illegal dumping," Krum said.
That's because the nearest place to dump construction waste and debris is in Bradley County.
But the idea might be derailed before commissioners even have the chance to vote.
Earnie Burfitt believes the company didn't follow the law by notifying residents about the proposal properly.
"Referring to how landfills are supposed to be presented to the community and this group has not done any of that. It is our non-legal opinion that they are in violation of state law at this time," he said.
It will be up to commissioners to decide next week.
This isn't the first time commissioners have voted on proposed landfills in this area.
Commissioners denied proposals in 1971 and 2007.