residents tell county to back off potential waste transfer
By Brooke Barker
October 5, 2006 | NIMBY!
While a waste transfer station has yet to find a home
in the valley, around 60 Petersboro residents continued
to show their unhappiness with the idea at Monday's
County Planning Commission meeting.
Their message: Not In My Back Yard.
Five of Cache Valley's cities have planned to chuck
their current provider, Logan City, for a cheaper and
perhaps simpler alternative: a transfer station that
would transport their trash to Box Elder County.
One problem: where to put it? Logan City doesn't want
it because it would take away business from the landfill,
and the rest of the county lacks proper zoning for a
facility that commissioners deemed an industrial activity
"We're just getting started on this and we are
going to have some things we need to discuss,"
said Lee Nelson, planning commission chairman, during
the meeting Monday. "The issue for us today isn't
approval in general for a facility, it is to discuss
whether or not a change to our restrictions in the agricultural
zone is prohibited or not."
Throughout a two-hour discussion, residents voiced
their opinions on whether a transfer station should
be allowed in an agricultural zone under the salvage
yard description in the current ordinance.
"A transfer station and a salvage yard are two
very different activities, with very different futures,"
said Nathan Wells Benson, a resident of the county,
during the meeting."We need to think about it and
have public debate as to whether this is ever appropriate
for agricultural zoning."
Wells worked with Utah County several years ago, and
saw two transfer stations established while there. He
discussed with the commissioners the careful planning
that went into their opening.
"The thing you have to keep in mind with transfer
stations is that issues arise. You can't necessarily
say down the road, we'll fix it."
Some of the concerns he had involved green waste,
different kinds of consumer waste and asbestos.
Others who came to the meeting seemed simply concerned
with protecting their small-town environment and preserving
"It changes the character of our community,"
said Loren Richardson, a Petersboro resident and Cutler
Marsh Recreational Area user. "Is this the goal
for agriculture zones in the county to become sprawling
Richardson asked the commission about the impacts
of the downstream wetlands, from a proposed facility
by Bruce and Janna Kidman in Petersboro. The Kidmans
are among the prospects the five cities are looking
at as their next waste management provider.
"Please make it general, not specific to Petersboro,"
reminded Nelson. "If the amendment is made then
you can come back and be more specific."
The Kidmans also came to the meeting to make their
statements concerning the idea of a transfer station
in Cache Valley. The facility they hope to build would
be about 12,000 square feet at about 5600 W. 800 North
near Mendon. They also plan to develop the building
as a barn to blend into the rural community.
"We just quietly wanted to carry trash,"
said Janna Kidman. "The problem is there are no
industrial areas in the valley outside of Logan City,
which does not like us."
Janna Kidman also said she wouldn't mind if the facility
needed to be elsewhere after rezoning, but likes the
proposed location because it makes sense to have the
station central in the valley and at the crossroads
of Highway 23 and 30. Kidman also pointed out during
the meeting that the proposed location for their transfer
station is part of commercial zoning according to Mendon's
By the end of the meeting, a consensus seemed to be
reached between commissioners that a transfer station
will eventually need to be built in Cache County, but
with the right research to make it a safe and worthwhile
investment. They also agreed that it would need to be
in an industrial zone, and not just an amendment to
the salvage yard ordinance already in place for agricultural
"We can say this falls into an industrial zone, but
if it is never zoned, it will eliminate the opportunity
for good businesses like this one in the county," said
Commissioner Troy Allen. The next move will be for the
commissioners to look at zoning more industrial areas
in the county outside of Logan City, and doing more
research into successful transfer stations in the area.
"Each one of us is concerned. If and when we make
a decision, we want to make sure it will run well and
clean," said Nelson. "There is something good that can
come out of this: our garbage going to Box Elder and
they actually want it."
Commissioner Linda Christiansen said that this is
not a problem that will be solved overnight. "I understand
that this is mostly a "not in my back yard" problem,
but wherever we decide to put it there is going to be
a lot of studying and mitigation, but we need to allow
Nelson mentioned that the county will need to look
at the underlying factors in zoning, and one thing the
commission will especially need to keep in mind while
thinking about transfer stations is property values.
"An industrial facility in the middle of an agricultural
zone is not price compatibility for the county."
The next county planning commission meeting will be
at 1:05 Nov. 21 at the Cache County Council Chambers
in the historical courthouse at 199 North Main. Nelson
and other commissioners expressed their desire for people
to continue giving their input throughout the process.