County Commissioners hear from Megadump foes
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 (05:26:07)

Posted by Admin

Scotland County Board of Commissioners gathered Monday night, April 5, 2010, for its regular monthly meeting, but comments made during an extended public forum made the evening anything but routine.

Laurinburg Exchange Article

Commissioners hear megadump foes

Scotland County Board of Commissioners gathered Monday night for its regular monthly meeting, but comments made during an extended public forum made the evening anything but routine.

Eddie Carmichael, co-owner of Carmichael Farms in Laurinburg, was recognized by the commissioners during the public input segment of the meeting. The Carmichael family, which has farmed the land since 1797, feels it would lose some 8.3 acres and an irrigation well on its land on Old Maxton and Patterson roads should the county landfill be expanded.

"The proposed megadump being considered by the board is outrageous," Carmichael said, "and the location is horrible. Studies project that the population of North Carolina will grow by 50 percent in the next 20 years; growth is coming from all sides, but the creation of a this type of landfill would put a bubble around Scotland County that will make future industry avoid the area. It is outrageous to consider."

Commission Chairman J.D. Willis said a decision had not been made to approve a landfill expansion.

"I haven't decided whether or when to support expanding the landfill," Willis said. "I'm sure all the other board members are looking at this issue with open minds."

Carmichael said that discussion of the issue needed to be done now, and challenged Willis not to wait until after the upcoming elections to reveal his position on the issue.

"I said at the February meeting that this would not be a J.D. decision," Willis said. "It will be a decision made by the board."

Commissioner Guy McCook said that two candidate forums would be held soon, and would provide a proper venue in which to discuss the issue of landfill expansion.

"Will you tell people at that time where you stand on the landfill issue," Carmichael said, "and not hide behind phrases like 'I need more information?'"

"I'll be there," McCook said.

Carmichael thanked the board and took a seat until later in the program when he stood and addressed the commissioners from the audience.

"I apologize for speaking from my seat, but the public forum was not closed," Carmichael said. "I thought anyone could speak if they so desired."

"We had the public forum," Willis said.

McCook said there may have been a misunderstanding between Carmichael and County Manager Kevin Patterson.

"We typically ask that those wishing to speak first register with the county clerk, and we try to provide time for them," he said. "This is not typically an open forum situation."

Carmichael said he phoned Patterson and was given the impression that anyone could speak if they so desired.

Since the public forum was not officially closed, Commissioner John Alford asked if 15 minutes could be allotted for those wishing to state their opinions.

"I would like to go home and watch the ballgame, like a lot of us here, but would it hurt us to let them speak?" he said.

Willis agreed, and four additional speakers approached the podium to voice their opposition to the landfill. One of them was retired teacher Phillip Essey.

"I taught biology, earth science, physical science and environmental science for 33 years," he said, "and I can tell you that this proposed expansion would be catastrophic. The books I taught your children attest to this. Not only would the landfill be too close to the Laurinburg-Maxton airport, but I have a landing strip as well. The thousands of birds that would congregate around the dump would make the area an aviation hazard."

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