By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

After two years of studies, reports, and public debate on a location for Del Norte County's future transfer station, the preferred site was moved yesterday in a matter of minutes.

Known and suspected contamination at the preferred location was creating a loggerhead in negotiations between property owner Ali Hooshnam and the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority, according to Director Kevin Hendrick. Because of this, the Solid Waste board voted yesterday to move the site to an adjacent property also owned by Hooshnam.

andquot;It is no longer our concern,andquot; Hendrick said yesterday of the contamination. andquot;We needed to know the extent of the contamination before the property could be accurately appraised. The Hooshnams decided they didn't want to know the answers to those questions.andquot;

Both Hooshnam properties are located on the east side of Elk Valley Road between Highway 101 and Howland Hill Road. The new location, which is on the north side of State Street, will have to be subdivided before it is sold.

Hendrick said the location change will require opening a new public hearing, but he added that overall cost and time actually should be saved in the long run.

andquot;The (original) property has buildings with associated values attached to them. The other property does not ... (and) despite the extent of whatever contamination found there, there would be remediation costs and time connected with it,andquot; Hendrick said.

A phase-one environmental assessment has already been made on the new location and it was determined the property was free of contamination and sensitive habitat, Hendrick said.

A previous environmental impact report conducted for the transfer station last year includes studies that also apply to the new location, according to contractor Steve Salzman of Winzler andamp; Kelly Engineering Consultants. Salzman predicted a supplemental report would satisfy any concerns about the new location.

andquot;It will be a little closer to existing homes, so sound walls and berms will be a consideration,andquot; said Hendrick. andquot;So we will be looking at what might be different and then identifying and mitigating if there are any issues.andquot;

Hendrick said he was not particularly surprised at the speed in which the board approved shifting the location.

andquot;We tried a lot of different ways to help (the owner) and to make it work. We made a really good effort,andquot; Hendrick said about dealing with the contamination. andquot;But it was better and more important for us to find a place for our project.andquot;

The transfer station, which is scheduled to open next year when the Del Norte County landfill closes, will be used to sort trash before it is trucked to Dry Creek Landfill in Oregon.