MANDEVILLE, LA — The Saint Tammany Parish Zoning Commission voted to deny a zoning change that was part of a proposed commercial landfill project in the parish. All of the commissioners voted in favor of a motion to deny the change except for one abstention.
Going into Tuesday night’s meeting, many parish leaders said that the vote was going to be delayed at the project developers’ request. But the commission made it clear that while it regularly defers votes for a variety of reasons, the decision can only come during a commission meeting. Instead, the commission opted to hear the case.
A representative for the developers said that he was under the impression that the vote would be deferred and would not have to make any presentation to argue in favor of the landfill. Also, while some commission members attended an informational meeting last month, others stated that they had not and hoped to hear more about the proposal.
The proposed landfill would have handled commercial and construction waste and debris. It would not have been used for residential garbage.
The proposed location is on Highway 36 between Pearl River and Lacombe at an old dirt racetrack site.
Several parish residents addressed the commissioners, asking them to deny the requested zoning change that would allow the project to move forward. Many cited concerns over environmental issues as well as noise, traffic and smell.
Developers say that portions of land in the area are already zoned to allow for high traffic businesses like a truck stop. They also stressed that the change in zoning would only be the first of many hurdles that the proposal would have to clear, including an environmental study.
While the commission voted down the change, some members said that they’re not against the idea of allowing another landfill to the parish. One made it clear that alternatives like trucking construction debris to landfills in other parishes is not a viable option.
Some commissioners said that they think the parish could use a new commercial landfill, but they would like to see more work done to pick another location. It was unclear Tuesday night if the Highway 36 developers wished to be a part of any additional work to select a different site.