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Council back to trash talkin'

Waste management, recycling on agenda for meeting tonight

Posted: February 24, 2009 1:25 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The trash talk is about to start again.

Years late in having a garbage sorting facility, the Santa Clarita City Council may approve the formation of a citizen-driven site selection committee at its regular meeting tonight.

Also up for council approval is an amendment to the city's franchise agreement with Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc., which would require the trash hauler to finish the 170,000-square-foot Materials Recovery Facility (or MRF, pronounced "murf") by Nov. 1, 2011.

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.

Plans for a MRF in Canyon Country were shot down last April after residents objected to potential pollution and traffic issues from trash sorting on a 75-acre site between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road.

Tonight, the council will be asked to OK the formation of a community committee, facilitated by Robert Newman, director of public works.

The group would meet over six months, tour existing MRFs in Southern California and discuss potential sites, according to the agenda report.

Proposed members of the 15-to-20-seat panel could include: the Sierra Club, the Castaic and West Ranch town councils, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the City Council members and four open seats selected by the Solid Waste Subcommittee.

One of the stated goals of the committee would be to find two to three viable locations to recommend to the City Council.

Materials accepted could include green waste, food waste, construction and demolition waste, separated and commingled recyclables and municipal solid waste.

The project site trashed last spring was the third Burrtec had seriously considered since 2004.

In other business, the council is poised to sign off on more than $2.5 million in contracts for so-called "streetscaping" in downtown Newhall.

The work is a kickoff of sorts for the city's drive to change the face of the valley's bedrock community over the coming decades.

The work will focus on Main Street between Lyons and Newhall avenues, adding landscaping, making the area more pedestrian-oriented and calming traffic.

The Downtown Newhall Specific Plan was approved by the council in December 2005 and aims to change Newhall into a mixed-used, arts-friendly community that draws visitors from everywhere.

The largest contract on the table is one for $2.3 million with locally based R.C. Becker and Son, Inc.

The project's first phase is on track to start in mid-March, according to an agenda report.

Business and property owners in Newhall have voiced concern that the work is to be done in phases, rather than all at once.

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