LORTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- A group of Fairfax County property owners are fighting the proposed expansion of the Lorton Landfill, which disposes of construction waste.
The facility on Furnace Road was supposed to be turned into a public-use park by 2018. Now, the landfill owners are asking to stick around until 2040.
People who live and work nearby are trying to trash that idea and made their opinions well known at a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.
Environmental Services Inc., ESI, is proposing the expansion that would include a massive 70-foot high and two-mile long detainment wall around the landfill.
Nearby property owners say dump trucks cause traffic and an eyesore. The trucks deliver hundreds of truck-loads of waste a day. Residents said with each delivery comes dirt and debris - everything from rocks, nails and rubble - that falls off those trucks and creates a mess and a hazard.
Bill Lynch owns a business park and lives near the landfill. Before the planning commission meeting, Lynch sorted through a box of grapefruit-sized rocks and other debris that he said he collected Thursday afternoon off roads leading into the landfill.
"This is half a brick with mortar on it," he said, holding up the large brick chunk. "It was somebody's demolition and I found this in the middle of the asphalt. There's a lot more of this in the shoulder and in the mud. It fell off a truck and it's right in the middle of the asphalt," said Lynch.
Nick Firth, who lives near the landfill with his wife and children, said "promises were broken" by the county and ESI.
"Whenever you move into an area you look at how it's changing and what it's potential is and you have to factor that in. There's a lot of people who bought-in around the landfill who feel the same way - that it depreciates their home values and their style of living," said Firth.
But ESI spokesman Conrad Mehan argues that people should have been realistic about purchasing property near a waste facility.
"The landfill has been there since the late 1970s and hundreds of people moved into brand new homes literally right up to the landfill property line. So, obviously they didn't consider it a significant issue to them," said Mehan.
Those who oppose the expansion argue that this is not just a quality of life issue, but a policy issue.
Lycnh said that having a debris landfill today and for the next 22 years is and "old way thinking and an old technology" and that the county should be looking to recycle.
Mehan argued that not all construction waste can be recycled, so there is still a need for the facility to exist beyond 2018.
But he also pointed out that ESI is simply applying for the expansion and that if the county turns them down, so be it. In that case, said Meham, they plan to move across the street into a much smaller mixed waste facility that it will be a nine-acre site, compared to a 250-acre landfill site.
Based on Thursday's meeting, the planning commission will give their recommendation to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on March 13. The board could make a final decision by April on whether or not to allow expansion.