Tensions have risen in the northwest Valley after plans were released to build a waste and recycling transfer station located on land that is currently marked residential.
The facility, proposed to be built near 115th Avenue and Happy Valley Road, in Peoria, is said to serve as a middle point where recyclables and waste are temporarily housed before they are transferred to larger trucks, where they are then hauled to recycling centers or landfills.
“We as a community understand the importance of this facility and what a recycling and waste transfer station does, but we do feel there are better places and that there are other locations where this could go that isn’t residential,” Vanessa Angell said on Tuesday.
Angell created and manages a Facebook page with more than 2,400 members who oppose plans for the project.
Members of the page are frustrated at the proposed location of the station.
“Why would you put a transfer station right in the middle of a residential community when there is plenty of land just off the I-17 and west Loop 303 where there are no houses?” Jeff Kimble wrote in a post.
Waste collection company Republic Services has not yet purchased the land.
However, the company has it under contract as they work through the preliminary stages with the Maricopa County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Despite the strong community opposition, Republic Services has requested to rezone just over five acres of residential land in hopes of turning it into heavy industrial for what they believe would be, “a critical piece of infrastructure – which is grossly absent in this part of the Valley.”
The community worries if the land is rezoned to “heavy industrial” it won’t end with the proposed waste and recycling transfer station.
“Businesses like that come in which could diminish home values. It will increase heavy truck traffic and traffic in general, it’s going to generate loud noise, emit odors and impact air quality,” Angell said.
The company expects to see 76 total daily truck trips. Eight will occur in the morning peak hour and eight will occur in the evening peak hour. They believe truck traffic will increase slightly due to the development but say it will be minimal with minor impacts on the streets of Peoria. The company also claims the facility will be no larger than a drug store and that odors and dust are expected to be under control as the waste is transferred inside the enclosed facility.
Angell also owns and operates her own industrial metal recycling company in Glendale and lives about a mile-and-a-half from the proposed facility.
“I would never want to live next to or near my facility, I’m next to a train depot – the BNSF railroad,” Angell said. “I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.”
However concerned residents disagree with Republic Services justification that their presence will not impact the community. “They want to funnel all that waste and truck traffic through a two lane road and next to the main entrance to our community,” said Alicia Dill
Stephen Anderson, a partner with the law firm that represents Republic Services, said the proximity to Loop 303 was a big reason for the location.
But what does the waste collection company say to residents that are worried about their neighborhood turning into a heavy industrial area?
“There’s already a major substation and two sand and gravel pits, and a major CAWCD [Central Arizona Water Conservation District] facility all already in the area,” Anderson said. “As well as two RV facilities which are taller and larger than our site – I would say that train has left the station for that area.”
Residents are adamantly opposed to the proposed rezoning of the area. Home values, increase traffic, odor, noise and additional dust in the air are all great concerns to residents who are fighting this rezoning plan, residents want none of that in their community. “This location is nothing like the others the mention. These gravel pits and sub stations are not at entries of home subdivisions,” said Marie Hickman.
Resident in the adjacent area Eydie Jerome agrees with Hickman and feels strongly that the two circumstances cannot be compared, “People that bought houses knew Cemex was already there. If that had been here I probably wouldn’t have bought my home (in Coldwater Ranch).”
Another resident Stu von Wald also shared his deep concern, “The truck traffic, noise, and dust from these entities are horrible. We don’t need any more trucks, noise, dust, etc. in any of our neighborhoods!”
At this time, the proposal is under technical review by various county review agencies.
The agencies are said to be holding a technical advisory meeting with the applicant.
There has yet to be a public hearing scheduled before the Maricopa County Planning & Zoning Commission.
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