From today's Whitman County Gazette:
County commissioners Monday postponed until next week a decision to re-zone roughly 21 acres of land owned by Williams Place, LLC., in the Pullman-Moscow Corridor.
The company wants to expand an industrial landfill site already operating on 20 acres of adjacent ground. Expansion was approved by the county planning commission after a public hearing last month.
Williams Place was permitted for the existing landfill three years ago. It was used mainly to hold construction debris from the state department of transportation widening of State Route 270 from Pullman to Moscow.
Williams Place CEO Gary Kopf told the county commissioners at their Monday session that the rezoned land would be used to store inert material, such as sand, rock and asphalt, from construction projects in the area. The fill would be dumped into a canyon between two hills just north of the highway.
Pullman resident Jeff Motley, however, saw fault with siting a landfill in the corridor. He noted commissioners have designated the corridor as the area the county will use to spur its economy.
“And we’re going to build a landfill in it?” asked Motley. “That’s going to make it very difficult to develop anything there.”
Construction regulations limit the types of buildings that could be built on top of filled land. Filled land must settle after it is finally covered with soil.
Kopf estimated the new landfill would almost level the entire 40-acre site in 10 or 15 years.
He then foresees the possibility of building ballfields or farming the land after it is capped.
With only so many acres in the corridor, a landfill that would make such a significant parcel of land undevelopable would be a “wrong fit,” Motely said.
Kopf disagreed. He said there is enough ground in the corridor to develop, and added construction companies will need a disposal side in close proximity if building in the corridor picks up as expected.
Commissioner Greg Partch said the landfill is critical to advance development in the corridor.
“In our type of topography, we have to have some place for this fill,” he said.
Partch wanted to make a decision Monday, but commissioners Michael Largent and Jerry Finch needed more information.
Largent asked if the shape of Kopf’s piece of land would allow it to be developed.
Alan Thomson, assistant county planner, said the land could not be built on because it is the side of a hill.
“Every landfill we’ve had in this county has come back to bite us,” admonished Commissioner Jerry Finch.
Finch then suggested commissioners take individual tours of the site before making a decision next Monday.