Plans for a solid waste transfer station to be placed on Lexington Road between a tire business, Josie’s of Georgetown and Crestlawn Cemetery were met with concern by the Georgetown City Council Monday night.
Mayor Tom Prather informed the council about the public hearing scheduled for July 22 at Scott County High School at 6 p.m. concerning Ironwork Recycling and Transfer Center at 1949 Lexington Road. Republic Services of Kentucky, LLC, has filed the application permit.
A solid waste transfer station accepts trash brought in so it could be sorted for recyclables, then that garbage is loaded and hauled to a landfill.
“This has me concerned, has (Scott County) Judge- (Executive Joe Pat) Covington concerned and we are doing our best to address it,” Prather said. “It has Crestlawn Cemetery on one side and a thriving restaurant on the other one.”
Council members expressed concern that the transfer station would be going in next to the cemetery and restaurant.
“That is a tough place,” said Councilman Marvin Thompson.
Prather said he and Covington have agreed that is not the place they want to see a transfer station for Scott County, and several council members nodded in agreement.
“That is our southern entrance. That is our entrance for all of the tourists from the (Kentucky) Horse Park. That is the most scenic entrance into our city,” Prather said.
“We have talked with Republic Waste Services and tried to explain as strongly as we could why this is not a good location. We have expressed the value of a greenbelt for over 20 years. It is something the community has valued and this flies in the face of what the community values.
“Their response primarily has been to explain why this is a perfect location. What they have said is they will help us explore other alternatives until all avenues are exhausted on this one. They have suggested two other locations in Georgetown that are even worse. I don’t want to even bring them up because I don’t want to scare people in residential neighborhoods.”
In an email, Republic Services of Kentucky said the site, which is the former Interstate Transformer plant, is perfect for its plans.
“The site is ideally suited for recycling and transferring solid waste because it has a high clearance to allow trucks access. Some changes would need to be made inside the building to accommodate vehicles, and a new scale and pavement leading into the building would be installed,” the email stated.
“The chosen property is ideally located for several reasons. First, the site is located in an area already zoned for heavy industry. In fact, this property was previously permitted as a solid waste transfer station, and the size and dimensions remain ideal.
“Second, its location in southern Scott County near interstates and away from the population center would be convenient for residential and commercial waste haulers, allow vehicles to avoid neighborhoods or narrow roads and offer a safe, efficient waste transportation route. Third, being located on a four-lane highway allows vehicles to enter and exit the facility with minimal traffic impacts.”
Covington has stated there are concerns about the site because it sits on the aquifer that supplies Royal Spring and much of the drinking water to the area and the amount of traffic that is already on the road.
Republic countered in its email that, “As a responsible operator, we would take measures at the proposed transfer station to protect the environment and avoid potential impacts. We would only accept non-hazardous solid waste, and all processing operations at the proposed facility would occur inside a completely enclosed structure.
“Any solid waste unloaded inside would be quickly consolidated and loaded onto larger vehicles for transportation outside of Scott County within a matter of hours, limiting the amount of time waste is actually present inside the facility. No overnight storage of waste would occur. Because of its location on a four-lane, US highway already designed to accommodate truck traffic, we believe there would be minimal impacts to local traffic.”
Scott County Fiscal Court is planning to hold a second reading of a siting ordinance for any new solid waste transfer station at Friday’s fiscal court meeting. The ordinance would require any new facilities get county approval before getting state approval.
“Our intent is to have a second reading,” Covington said. “We are doing everything we can to put in place ordinances that would give us the ability to set criteria for where transfer stations could go. We have also been in touch with staff from planning and zoning and looking at where transfer stations could be go based on zoning ordinance.”
Prather said companies that have transfer stations promise they are very clean.
“Garbage trucks drive into a building, dump a load on a big concrete floor, then it is loaded up and the semis take it to its destination,” Prather said. “They are loaded inside and driven out. The companies attest they are very clean. The concern we have is the number of trucks that would be on that stretch of road.”
He mentioned that ITS, owned by John Bishop, has a permit for a transfer station at 245 West Yusan Way.
Having transfer stations would give the city options on handling its garbage service, although you want them put in the best places for the community, said Councilwoman Karen Tingle-Sames.
“If the landfill shuts down because of capacity or something the county does, having two transfer stations in your community gives us an advantage if we didn’t have them and have to haul it further and cost more,” she said.
A transfer station has benefits, Prather said, including wear and tear on city garbage trucks, but expressed concerns on Republic’s attitude toward working with the city and county officials on their issues, including what and how much garbage may come in.
“I think Republic Services wants to move forward on the transfer station whether they get the Scott County’s landfill business or not,” he said.
“That could mean Fayette County waste,” Thompson said.
“The interstate is right there,” said Councilwoman Polly Singer-Eardley.
“I expressed very firmly to representatives from Republic that I couldn’t imagine doing business with a company that cared so little about the community’s values and they proceeded to tell us again why it is a perfect location. I am not sure they care what we think.
“I don’t know if it will happen. It is zoned correctly and there may not be anything we can do,” Prather said. “I’m hopeful that maybe public opinion will help them grow a corporate conscience.”
Steve McClain can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.