Council OKs measure regulating location of transfer stations

By Alyson E. Raletz

Fred Weber Inc. is unsure how new St. Louis County Council legislation will affect its proposed trash-transfer station on Baumgartner Road, according to a company representative.

However, county officials said the new ordinance could be a roadblock for the Fred Weber proposal.

The County Council voted unanimously last week to approve legislation that prohibits the construction of trash-transfer stations or solid-waste processing facilities within 1,000 feet of any schools, churches or residences in the county’s unincorporated area.

The amendment to the county’s Waste Management Code also includes nursery schools, child-care centers and nursing homes.

Derrick Standley of the Genesis Solid Waste Group Inc., a consultant for Fred Weber Inc., said he could not comment on the severity of the council’s 1,000-foot buffer legislation.

“I don’t know if it will ultimately be a good or bad thing,” Standley told the Call. “We are waiting to see just like everyone else.”

County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, said county planners are working to identify areas within the unincorporated part of the county where transfer stations and solid-waste processing facilities now can be built. Campisi authored the Waste Management Code amendment that was approved Sept. 2.

“We have to make sure we have certain places for them to go,” Campisi said. “I am sure there is room.”

But where will Fred Weber’s proposed trash-transfer station on Baumgartner Road go? Oakville residents have made it clear they don’t want it in their neighborhoods.

More than 1,000 Oakville residents attended a June public hearing sponsored by the county Department of Health on Fred Weber’s application and posed noise, odor and other community concerns. In July, about 800 people attended a public hearing on Fred Weber’s proposal that was sponsored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Two weeks ago, nearly 200 residents who opposed a trash-transfer station being built on Baumgartner Road attended a County Council Committee of the Whole meeting where Campisi’s legislation was discussed.

Despite public opposition, Fred Weber Inc. resubmitted its application to the Mis-souri Department of Natural Resources on Sept. 2. The DNR had rejected the initial proposal because the company neglected to prove ownership of the Baumgartner site

However, the company since has provided ownership documentation and the DNR is re-evaluating the proposal. Meanwhile, the county Department of Health is continuing its review of the Fred Weber application.

County Counselor Patricia Redington said the health department is investigating a lot of information in the Fred Weber proposal and it is unknown when the department will reach a decision. However, it will have to consider the new county legislation when evaluating Fred Weber’s proposal, Redington said.

“I expect this to apply to the new facility,” she said.

Campisi said he believes Fred Weber’s transfer-station project will come to a halt because of the 1,000-foot regulation. With so much negative community feedback, he said he does not know why the company resubmitted its application and is aggressively pushing the proposal.

“I’m really surprised that they are pursuing a piece of property with so much opposition to it,” Campisi said. “Fred Weber usually likes to be community friendly. I don’t know why they are still going after it.”

Standley said one reason the company is pursuing the Baumgartner Road site is because there is virtually no traffic problem in the area. And there wouldn’t be a traffic problem with the presence of the transfer station, he said, because Fred Weber plans to widen the area to ensure traffic would not become a problem in the future.

He said he doesn’t know why there is so much opposition to the station. He said Fred Weber went to great lengths to put together a proposal that would fit the needs of the community. There are fewer churches and schools near the site on Baumgart-ner Road than many others that already exist in the market area, he said.

“I have never seen such a big deal about a transfer station,” he said. “It’s really bizarre what’s going on in the Oakville community. I have never seen a community, not a community, a handful of residents act this hostile toward a transfer station. I don’t believe the entire Oakville area feels this way.”

Residents in St. Roberts, St. Peters, Uni-versity City and Jefferson City have welcomed, not condemned, transfer facilities into their communities, Standley said.

Fred Weber is not trying to put a landfill on Baumgartner, he said. Transfer stations serve as conduits, he said, allowing the service to make more stops with fewer and lighter trucks causing less wear and tear on roads.

“There is not enough transfer capacity,” he said. “The reality is as we lose landfills at the south end of the market, we lose the capacity to handle trash causing haulers to run bigger, heavier trash trucks.”

At last week’s county council meeting, members also tabled a proposed moratorium that would prohibit any transfer station or waste processing facility permits from being issued for six months. Councilmen would use this time to address additional waste-management issues and legislation.

However, the proposed moratorium would exempt Fred Weber from the six-month permit freeze.

Campisi said he is in favor of the moratorium, but only if it passes without the Fred Weber exemption. No permits should be issued to any companies trying to build waste transfer or management facilities — including Fred Weber, he said.

He said he would like to see the six months used as a time to gather information from the Department of Planning and the Department of Health decisions in regard to the future placement of waste facilities in unincorporated St. Louis County.

The County Council was scheduled to continue its discussion of the moratorium Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.