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MRF plans get trashed

Posted: March 18, 2008 2:48 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Vehement opposition from Canyon Country and Newhall residents has prompted Burrtec Waste Industries Inc. to shelve plans for a large recycling plant on Sierra Highway, at least for now, an official said late Monday.

"Rest assured, Burrtec does not want to operate in an area where we are not welcomed by all concerned," Burrtec Vice President Michael Arreguin said in an e-mail Monday.

"We realize that the Santa Clarita Material Recovery Facility project has raised concerns among local residents who are not in favor of its development and have expressed a need for clarity and complete
information."

The commercial waste hauler recently began the environmental review process to build a 170,000-square-foot materials recovery facility, or MRF, along Sierra Highway between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road. The plant would have processed up to 3,000 tons of waste per day.

As the EIR process began earlier this year, city officials and Burrtec held a meeting to notify nearby residents of the plans.

Hundreds of residents responded in an uproar, forming a "Stop the Dump" committee and claiming the MRF would bring rodents and flies to the neighborhood, as well as adding hundreds of trucks to community streets six days a week.

"We didn't want the EIR schedule to be the factor that would create an artificial timeline," said Charles Tobin, Burrtec's development director. "We just thought it was better to put that on hold for a period of time and then try to work with community groups and see how that goes."

He said Burrtec welcomes suggestions for other possible sites. "I believe that says a lot about the integrity of Burrtec management," said Alan Ferdman, chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee and a leader of the rally against the MRF. "They have heard our community's concerns and acted accordingly."

Through its franchise agreement with the city of Santa Clarita, Burrtec is required to build a recycling center. The plant would likely start out at a level of 1,000 tons of commercial and residential waste per day.

The city is requiring Burrtec to build the MRF to help the city comply with a state mandate that cities recycle 50 percent of their waste. In 2006, Santa Clarita's preliminary rate for waste recycling was 54 percent.

The Newhall site is the third that Burrtec has considered. The most recent site was within the proposed Gate-King development east of the newest site. Due to pending litigation with environmental groups, the city asked Burrtec to look into other sites.

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