By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
The time has passed for reconsideration of where to place Del Norte County's future transfer station.
That was the message delivered by the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority yesterday when it voted 4-to-1 to approve the purchase of property on Elk Valley Road for the facility.
Commissioner Herb Kolodner, who provided the only no vote, moved that the decision be put off until the next meeting, so options delivered by staff could be analyzed by the board. Kolodner's motion died with a 3-to-2 vote against it, with Kolodner and Chairman Jack Reese voting yes.
During a public hearing on the purchase, which will cost the Authority $492,000 for 13.3 acres, the opinions expressed were more concerned about the location than about the price.
"This is not about the site selection process or the environmental impact report of the subdivision of the property. These decisions have already been made," announced Director Kevin Hendrick before the public session began.
Hendrick sought to put the project cost into perspective in relation to the cost of the property.
"Although $492,000 is undeniably a large sum of money, it is fair and reasonable to put this in the context of other large public infrastructure project costs," Hendrick said. "The city water line came in under budget at nearly $8 million. The estimated cost of the new sewage treatment plant is $30 million. Yet these are essential public services that are important to support growth and economic development in our community."
A letter submitted by Del Norte County Supervisor David Finigan suggested the board consider another piece of property for the facility.
"I would urge you not to accept the proposed location because of its unique capability for future economic development," Finigan wrote. "The site you are considering is one of the few, if not only, vacant commercial-industrial-manufacturing zoned parcels in the county that has the capability to be served by city sewer and city water."
Finigan suggested a parcel behind the fairgrounds as a better location. However, the board was only considering the purchase of the Elk Valley property yesterday.
One concern expressed about increased traffic on Elk Valley Road was answered by Dwayne Reichlin of Hambro Waste Solutions Group, the company contracted to operate the transfer station.
"The trucks are already there. You will be seeing no more than you are seeing now," said Reichlin. An affiliated company, Hambro Forest Products, is already running trucks between Del Norte County and Oregon on Highway 199. Reichlin said these existing trucks will be hauling more on their designated runs.
The Elk Valley property is currently owned by Malihe Hooshnam. A previous Hooshnam property was rejected after a concern was raised about contamination.
Other locations included the current landfill and a property adjacent to Hambro. These were rejected because of their proximity to protected wetlands.