In a vote with big repercussions for the western edge of Charleston, County Council could decide Tuesday to send more of the county's waste to far West Ashley, possibly extending the life of the Bees Ferry landfill by decades.
At issue is where to locate a proposed recycling facility, which also could involve some sorting of garbage. It's part of the county's ongoing effort to increase recycling and thereby reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfills.
One faction on County Council — Colleen Condon, Anna Johnson, Dickie Schweers, Joe Qualey and Herb Sass — has supported buying a site on Bees Ferry Road, adjacent to the Bees Ferry landfill.
The other faction — Elliott Summey, Teddie Pryor, Vic Rawl, and Henry Darby — has voted for buying a site along Palmetto Commerce Parkway in North Charleston. Council members supporting the Bees Ferry selection won a vote last week 5-4, but the balance could potentially change Tuesday.
Schweers will be absent from the meeting, leaving the sides apparently evenly split.
“If it does end up tied 4-4, then I could bring it up at the next meeting,” he said.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley doesn't have a direct say in the outcome because the property is not within the city limits, but the surrounding area is in Charleston and home to many residential subdivisions.
“I am adamantly opposed to it, and the residents of all the nearby neighborhoods I know of are opposed to it,” he said Monday. “This fails the test of any kind of regional planning analysis.”
Garbage from Charleston County currently goes to two landfills, Bees Ferry and Oak Ridge in Dorchester County. The proposed facility at Bees Ferry would mean that all county garbage would go there, according to Summey.
Summey said that would mean added costs for municipalities on the other end of the county, which would have to truck all their garbage to far West Ashley. He said that such an important issue should have been the subject of public hearings and consultation with local governments.
“We're not always going to get along with our sister governments, but when we openly go around them, that's a problem,” he said.
The argument for the Bees Ferry site is that it makes sense, according to county waste consultant Mitch Kessler, to have the landfill, recycling center and compost facility at the same location.
“Our expert said that consolidation is always good, and we would be better using an existing site,” said Schweers. “Nobody wants garbage in their neighborhood, but it's got to go somewhere.”
Condon has said that while there could be an estimated 300 garbage truck trips a day on Bees Ferry road, the proposed facility would likely take the place of a residential subdivision that could generate far more traffic.
The vote is the last item on County Council's agenda. The meeting is begin at 6:30 with a half-hour set aside for public comments, at 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.