After four hearings and a glut of public input, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission approved the expansion of the Cold Canyon Landfill.
Operators of the landfill—which is expected to reach its capacity by 2018—applied to expand existing facility by 46 acres, increase the allowable material processing by 430 tons per day, increase the operating hours, and make other related expansions.
Planning Commissioners dissected the project amid heavy public opposition, but ultimately voted 4-1 on Aug. 9 to approve the application along with some added conditions such as protective berms and noise-reduction measures.
“This project, as distasteful as it may be for … the neighbors, I think that we’ve improved it and it’s certainly necessary for the public good in a large sense,” Commissioner Jim Irving said.
Commissioner Dan O’Grady, who voted against the project, said he would have preferred an alternative outlined in the project’s Environmental Impact Report that would require landfill operators to move the proposed site and acquire about four additional acres. He said he was unwilling to “unnecessarily subject the people living around the landfill to the more severe effects of the proposed project for the next 30 years.”
But other commissioners said the project, which provides the nearest landfill to county residents below the grade, is necessary for residents and business owners.