Despite opposition from local residents, New Castle County Council approved a plan that will develop 34 acres of land just north of Smyrna into the new facility for Waste Industries.
The 34 acres of land located between the Del. Route 1 and U.S. Route 13 interchange is across the highway from the Village of Savannah and just a few thousand feet away from a Delaware Department of Transportation maintenance yard.
Residents from the Village of Savannah spoke out against the plan during the County's Feb. 19 Land Use committee meeting and again during County Council's bi-weekly meeting Feb. 26.
They expressed concerns about safety, property value, and traffic.
Council voted 12-1 to approve the plan, with only Councilman Jea Street (D- Wilmington) opposing.
Waste Industries will now move from their Townsend site, which was said to be busting at the seams, to the new Smyrna site.
The company has outgrown its Townsend site, said attorney Larry Tarabicos, who spoke on behalf of Waste Industries.
"We rely on this job to support our families," said James Manlove, and employee with the company. "We would like to see it expand. Our trucks are inspected and cleaned daily."
All of the company's drivers hold their CDL licenses, are drug tested, and screened before being hired.
The new building that is planned for Smyrna will be about 15,040 square feet. Their current site in Townsend is only 4 acres.
From what was said at Tuesday night's meeting, residents in the town of Townsend have not had any complaints about their neighbor.
"Their yard has less trash than some of the county parks that I play softball in," said Fred Drake Jr., owner of Drake Automotive in Townsend. "No one in Townsend complains about Waste Industries."
The Village of Savannah is a community of single family homes.
"Garbage trucks will ruin our property value," said resident Hershell Nash. "We don't mind having neighbors, just send us someone else."
Peggy Schultz, who spoke on behalf of the League of Women Voters in New Castle County, said that her group opposed the plan as well.
Others just didn't want to see the agricultural site developed, and as one man said – turned into a hodge-podge.
"There are only a few places in New Castle County that aren't hodge-podges," said Jim Black, a Wilmington resident. "We ought to listen to the county and keep this site agricultural. Is it really the only place where they can put [Waste Industries]?"
The Smyrna location would not have trash or recycling on site – it would only house the trucks. The only other uses at the site, Tarabicos said, would be truck maintenance and administrative.
Page 2 of 2 - Trash would continue to go to one of six Solid Waste Authority facilities in the state.
Despite this, residents expressed concerns with safety – as the interchange is already a traffic nightmare, some said – property value, noise, and water quality.
Deed restrictions added to the plan include a well monitoring system to ensure that the water remains clean, Tarabicos said.
Other deed restrictions that would safeguard against noise and other uses would also be recorded with the plan.
The county Planning Board was deadlocked with its vote, with three members in favor and three opposed to the rezoning.
State Senator Bruce Ennis (D- Smyrna) spoke on behalf of his constituents, opposing the plan and asking why this location was chosen.
"Neighboring properties near the Village of Savannah area are agricultural and residential and should remain as such," he said.