Zoning board gives thumbs down to proposed landfill
Dozens of angry residents crammed the Charlotte County Commission chambers on Monday to listen as the Planning and Zoning Board, by a unanimous vote of 5-0, denied a request by the owners of Calusa Green LLC to have 554 acres of land rezoned from agricultural to planned development so they could construct a landfill on the property.
Most residents cited the landfill would have a negative impact on the environment if it were built.
The facility would include a 189-acre solid waste management facility, 30-acre construction and demolition debris facility, a biosolids composting facility, a recycling center, and an energy recovery plant. It would be located north of Bermont Road and east of State Road 31.
The facility would be completed in five phases over a 30-year period, Calusa Green LLC attorney Geri Waksler said. Waksler stressed that there would be no negative impact to the surrounding area and “was not a dump and would be managed by trained professionals.”
The amount of traffic entering and leaving the proposed landfill was also discussed. Waksler said that a study had been done that projected 427 trucks per day would be used when it was up and running. In comparison, Waksler said that if 55 homes were built in the area, that would produce 900 trips, and a Circle K convenience store would have more than 400 trips.
David Brown, a consulting geologist speaking on behalf of Calusa Green LLC, stated that no negative impact would incur as a result of the landfill after samples were taken of the soil that produced a clay that was “very waxy and dense.”
Inga Williams, a principal planner for Charlotte County, read a synopsis of the Calusa Green LLC application and recommended that the board deny the request for rezoning based on inconsistencies such as traffic, operation, hazardous materials and ground water protection.
“I am totally opposed to this,” resident Dominic Barbera said. “It didn’t mention methane gas. Ever go by a landfill? It doesn’t smell like perfume.”
Clarke Keller owns property adjacent to the proposed landfill and said that Calusa Green LLC did not “provide adequate documentation on the number of trucks.”
“I see no sense in this,” he said.
Punta Gorda resident Tom Columbano owns 40 acres of land in the southwest corner of the site and is worried about the runoff from the rain.
“I own cattle near Chiquita Road and you know how it rains in Florida in the summer,” he said. “Water from this dump site will overflow onto our lands.”
“The question is whether or not this facility is or is not part of our Comprehensive Plan?” board chairwoman Paula Hess said. “I don’t think the extra capacity is necessary.”
Hess said that the current landfill on Zemel Road will be adequate until 2030.
“People feel threatened,” resident Lindsay Harrington said. “We want to keep that rural lifestyle.”