County officials last week denied a proposal from a landowner to rezone 225 acres of property in the Hansel Valley for a landfill that would accept solid waste from Wasatch Front communities located south of Box Elder County.
The Box Elder County Board of Commissioners voted not to rezone the property owned by Randy Moulding, who appeared before the commission at its Sept. 2 meeting to plead his case.
Moulding said he recently received permission from the State of Utah to create and operate a landfill that would take garbage from Weber and Davis counties.
“We went through six years of the DEQ (Utah Department of Environmental Quality),” he said. “They permitted my landfill because it was the right thing to do.”
In denying the rezone, commissioners followed the unanimous recommendation of the county planning commission, which cited several concerns including widespread public opposition, close proximity to an important water source, susceptibility to flash flooding and earthquakes, adverse effects on neighboring properties, and lack of need with other available landfill space in the county.
Chris Hogle, an attorney representing Moulding, said those concerns were addressed when his client went through the state permitting process. He said there would be no adverse impacts on neighboring properties because Moulding already owns the neighboring properties, and said a need for the facility has been established by customers who have already approached Moulding about it.
“We went through a painstaking, time-consuming process, and heard from multiple interested parties,” Hogle said. “All these issues, environmental issues — all of that was addressed.”
County Commission Chairman Jeff Hadfield said public opposition and environmental factors were enough to warrant a denial of the application.
“I was at the public hearing and saw quite a force of public outcry against the landfill,” Hadfield said. “There are concerns that the public and adjacent landowners have, and I think they’re legitimate concerns.”
County Commissioner Stan Summers said that with plenty of space available at the existing county landfill, the need for another one simply isn’t there.
“When it comes to the need, excluding any other landfill, our landfill is good for our residents for another 100-plus years or 200-plus years,” Summers said.
The county granted a permit for a landfill at Promontory Point in 2004, and Moulding said his proposal meets the same criteria as that operation. While the county helped the operators of the Promontory landfill secure bond financing, improved the road to the facility and spoke on behalf of it before state regulators, he said the same standards aren’t being applied to his proposal.
“I have just as much right to have a landfill as they do,” he said. “I feel discriminated against.”
Hadfield said that situation was different because the Promontory landfill was already active when the county offered its help.
“I view that as an active, viable business that was actively permitted,” he said. “We do that with a lot of businesses here in the county if we can help them without making the county liable or anything like that. We usually do try and assist businesses and help our economy, so in that regard, I don’t think we’ve approached that any differently than we have any other business.”