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Burrtec dumps MRF location

• Company ends plan to build recycling facility along Sierra Hwy.

Posted: April 17, 2008 3:24 a.m.
Updated: June 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Plans to build a giant recycling center along Sierra Highway in Newhall are officially dead.

Burrtec Waste Industries has taken the final step to scrap the plans after residents in the area waged a "Stop the Dump" war, citing concerns about the pollution and traffic the plant could bring.

City officials said Wednesday that Burrtec has notified the city in writing it will not build the proposed 170,000-square-foot materials recovery facility - or MRF - on the 75-acre site between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road.

An uproar from residents in March prompted the commercial waste hauler to halt the environmental review process and the company announced it did not want to build the MRF in an area where it would not be welcomed.

But because Burrtec had not yet agreed to withdraw its application filed with the city, residents were concerned the project could still move forward.

After City Manager Ken Pulskamp and Mayor Bob Kellar met with company president Cole Burr this week, Burr agreed in writing to withdraw the plans he filed with the city in September.

The company president also told the city officials he would first meet with the community to discuss any new plans before seeking another city permit.

"The meeting went very well and I think that we are heading in the right direction," Kellar said in a statement. "Burrtec will no longer be pursuing a MRF on their 75-acre site."

As part of its franchise agreement with the city, Burrtec is required to develop and operate a MRF to recycle the city's waste. The state requires the city to recycle at least 50 percent of its trash and that mandate could jump to 75 percent in the coming years. Santa Clarita's preliminary rate for 2006 was 54 percent.

This was the third site Burrtec has seriously considered for the MRF since 2004 and Burrtec has asked that the city once again assist in finding a new site.

"Given all the circumstances at this point, we're just going to regroup and see where to go now," Burrtec Community Development Director Charles Tobin said Wednesday.

Newhall and Canyon Country residents had said they were concerned about living near a facility would be capable of eventually processing 3,000 tons of waste per day.

Residents feared the plant would bring rodents, flies, air pollution and increased truck traffic to their neighborhood.

"We are pleased that they have taken this position and that they understand it's important that we preserve our existing neighborhoods," said Alan Ferdman, chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee and a leader in the fight against the project in the proposed location. "I'm really even more encouraged by (Burrtec) saying that they would meet with the community to discuss any new sites prior to applying for permits so that we don't have this situation repeat itself."

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