Bid for Lancaster Co landfill withdrawn

By Ben Hoover - bio | email

LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A North Carolina-based company withdrew it's bid to build a landfill in Lancaster County.

In the 11th hour before a zoning hearing "Griffin Brothers" companies issued a letter saying "It would better serve all parties to withdraw our application."

It's a victory for the grass-roots community group that banded together to take on the landfill, but members of that group said it's okay to feel good Thursday night but not too good.

A packed-room full of community members erupted into applause and cheers after the Zoning Board read the news - a landfill application had been withdrawn. "We were surprised," said resident Gary Horton.

"I'm so excited," said resident Phyllis Hickman, "You just don't know...overwhelmed."

But before the applause ended, reality sank in for the community. "The worst thing we can do is pat ourselves on the back and walk away and say we won because I don't think it's over," said Horton.

"We have a monkey on our back still," said Hickman, "They'll be back."

"They" are the "Griffin Brothers." It's a company based out of Cornelius, North Carolina that stands to make tens of millions of dollars off the sale of the land to waste management.

The company entered into talks with Lancaster County last year, and people, like Phyllis Hickman who owns a home near the proposed site, said they knew nothing about it. "My house would be worthless," said Hickman.

"People just rebelled when they realized that this was pushed through, that nobody knew about it," said Horton.

The county planner said public notices were printed in the newspaper. But community members said the notices said nothing about a landfill.

Now that the group feels like they have their voice back, they feel like they have a fighting chance. "It makes you feel good that people care about their community and care about the way of life we have in Lancaster," said Horton.

In a letter issued by "Griffin Brothers" it said the withdrawal had to do with county council. On Tuesday, council moved to reverse an earlier decision. That decision changed the distance a landfill could be from homes from one mile to only 1,000 feet.

Council wants to change it back to one mile, and that was the deal breaker. Mike Griffin told WIS News 10 he can re-apply in six months. In the meantime, he said he plans to clear up what he calls misinformation within the community.

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