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A monofill, defined as a landfill serving only one industry, may be inflicted upon or quietly inserted into a farming area in the center of the county.
We commend the Perry County commissioners for heeding the pleas of several people at their June 20 meeting to take a go-slow approach on a zoning request submitted by Waupaca Foundry toward building the monofill. As evidenced by standing-room-only turnouts at two meetings where the issue was discussed, that one and a county plan-commission gathering, many people are concerned about the proposed zoning change to heavy industrial of an area just west of Indiana 37 and north of Indiana 70.
The commissioners don’t have an easy task before them in deciding whether to change the land’s designation from its current agricultural use.
Concerns expressed at both meetings included a loss of tranquility which several people identified as a key quality-of-life issue that drew them to or keeps them in Perry County. Approximately 15 heavy trucks daily could disrupt that, delivering noise, dust and potential health hazards if those concerns have merit.
Like many in the county, we appreciate Waupaca being here, employing approximately 1,000 people and serving as the backbone of so many other jobs in related companies. It is difficult to imagine what Perry County would look like without the foundry.
Economic benefit is wonderful, of course, and we trust Waupaca spokesman Bryant Esch was sincere when he said the company has always worked to ensure neighbors aren’t inconvenienced by the siting of its several monofills. Only a tiny fraction of the 200 acres the company wants to purchase for its monofill would be used at any one time, with the rest serving as buffer area separating the industrial operation from adjacent land. A road would be built to carry trucks to the fill without having to rumble past homes on county roads.
His perspective is different from those whose lives are rooted in the surrounding land, however, and their perspectives deserve serious consideration by the elected officials now charged with the decision.
County attorney Chris Goffinet joked at the latest meeting that not even he cared to witness a fight between lawyers,
and at times the attorneys presenting the divergent views of their clients appeared to be in opposite corners. The request left for the commissioners, however, was to allow both sides to work together to craft guarantees that would satisfy those who would feel the impact of a monofill. (As we understand it, those guarantees would restrict what Waupaca can do with the land it would own around the monofill.)
The community was led to believe the guarantees would be enforceable if written into private covenants. If the commissioners simply approve the rezoning request without them (or without allowing the company and residents a full measure of time to come to terms all can live with,) those living near the monofill will perceive it as having been inflicted upon their neighborhood.
If covenants are agreed to that satisfy the expressed concerns, a monofill can be quietly inserted there, helping to ensure the continued presence of a valued community partner with the least possible encroachment on its new neighbors.
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