Charleston County's recycling efforts may have to stay at its Romney Street location a bit longer.

Because of the difficulty in securing land for a new large-scale recycling center in North Charleston, County Council gave the OK on Thursday to move ahead on a contract with its new recycling handler, identified as Sunoco, for the Romney Street location in Charleston.

But council also wants to see if it can get a contract length that's shorter than the 10 years being considered.

The kink is that the county has been unable to settle negotiations to buy land needed for a planned recycling center on Palmetto Commerce Drive. The agreement was expected to be settled days ago.

"No one knew it would be this difficult to secure a piece of dirt," Joe Dawson, the county's attorney and recycling official said at Thursday's Finance Committee meeting.

Officials believe Romney Street will be needed as a collection site for at least 18 more months, which is why the county's legal department will explore with Sunoco a contract covering as little as two years.

Time is also a factor since the contract with the county's current recycling handler at Romney Street is scheduled to expire at the end of the month.

Councilman Elliott Summey was among those supporting the shorter contract, saying the county had gotten itself in trouble before after negotiating multi-year agreements with vendors who didn't perform well.

The Palmetto Commerce Parkway site became the county's latest choice after a string of debates that began months ago when West Ashley residents opposed the first choice, on land adjacent to the Bees Ferry landfill.

Dawson will bring a recommendation back to council on Tuesday on what other contract lengths might be viable.

The discussion came after a 90-minute executive session council called to address what it said were contractual matters.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551