CHARLESTON - A Charleston County Council committee has delayed, for the third time this year, making a decision on zoning changes that would allow the development of a controversial construction waste landfill in Adams Run.
On Thursday evening, the council's Planning and Public Works Committee deferred the issue until Dec. 17, after Councilwoman Colleen Condon said there were many issues that required discussion and staff review.
Later, Council chairman Teddie Pryor said the main issue is a seven-point agreement the county is pursuing with would-be landfill developer Tre Sheppard of Mount Pleasant, dealing with health and safety issues such as monitoring wells.
"Some folks have concerns, and we have concerns, too," Pryor said.
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At a public hearing earlier this week attended by more than 200 people, most of whom opposed the landfill plan, opponents expressed concern that chemicals present in construction waste, such as lead paint and arsenic from pressure-treated lumber, could contaminate wells and the nearby Edisto River.
The proposed heath and safety agreement was not made public, and was the subject of a 90-minute closed-door executive session before the zoning requests were deferred.
Opponents of the landfill attended the meeting, but there is no opportunity for public comments at council committee meetings. After the vote was postponed, some opponents took it as a hopeful sign.
"The good thing is that it didn't move forward," said Wilbur Jones. "This will give us an opportunity to try and educate more people."
Jones and other opponents said there could also be a legal question about council's ability to change the county's comprehensive land-use plan to allow the landfill, after the Planning Commission unanimously recommended against doing so in January.
The landfill proposal calls for a 102-acre site for construction and demolition waste on a 313-acre property located on U.S. Highway 17 near Parkers Ferry Road. The county owns 750 acres surrounding the site, and had considered using it for a household waste landfill, but has abandoned that plan and is discussing selling that property.
Hundreds of residents and property owners in the area, along with the Coastal Conservation League and MeadWestvaco, oppose the construction waste landfill plan.
Supporters say such a site is necessary, and would be coupled with a plan to separate and recycle about 60 percent of the waste at a facility in North Charleston before it reaches the landfill. Committee votes on the zoning issues were previously deferred in February and May, and several public hearings have been held.