Source: Sherman Publications

Orion Twp. landfill issues may impact Groveland

by David Fleet

September 07, 2011

A recent change in direction by a nearby township board could spark the growth of landfill locally.

By a vote of 6-1, the Orion Township Board on Monday night elected to rescind its April 18 approval of Waste Management, Inc.’s request to begin the process for expanding the Eagle Valley landfill by 53 acres. The expansion would add an additional 30-40 years to the landfill which currently covers more than 300 acres. If left alone the landfill will have about nine years left, said Orion Township Clerk Penny Shults.

Waste Management did not respond.

“It might encourage others with property available to apply for a landfill,” said Bob DePalma, Groveland Township Supervisor. “I understand the frustration of the people that live by the Eagle Valley Landfill, but in my opinion they would be hard pressed to change what the (Orion) township already agreed to.”

DePalma said while there has been no indication of an interest in looking to the township for a landfill—historically the request has been there.

“It’s a buyer’s market. With the downturn in the economy there seems to be less waste. Some landfills are actually cutting their price, not to mention the amount of recycling that exists.”

DePalma also said the more recycling, the less to the landfills.

“There’s no need for more landfills in Michigan right now,” he said.

In exchange for the board’s approval, former Orion Township Supervisor Matt Gibb said Eagle Valley agreed to provide Orion Township with an immediate $100,000 payment and, upon successful completion of the permitting process, another $894,000. In addition, the township would receive an extra $100,000 per year for a decade. The new agreement called for Waste Management to provide property valuation guarantees to some 120 nearby homeowners on Waldon Road, although many are reluctant to sign such contracts.

The request for landfills in both Groveland and Holly townships near I-75 have been ongoing.

In 2006, two township officials spearheaded a long-term ban on sanitary landfills within approximately 700 acres of prime real estate crossing both Groveland and Holly townships.

The proposal, which attempted to restrict and prevent the development of a solid waste landfill for at least the next 15 years, was offered by both Groveland and Holly townships to five landowners in an area between Dixie Highway and I-75, with a northern border of Holdridge Road and Buckell Lake Road to the south.

The area has been eyed as prime area for a landfill, say township officials.

In return to signing the agreement, the property owners will receive tax benefits and assistance of the Oakland County planning and development agencies in marketing the parcels for future use.

The landowners would not agree.

The Lake Orion Review contributed to this story.