The Forsyth County planning board on Tuesday night recommended that nearly 74 acres next to the Eagle Point Landfill be rezoned.
The request, which still needs approval from the county commission next month, would rezone the property from agricultural to mining operations district. Doing so would allow for a “soil borrow area” for the neighboring landfill on Old Federal Road in northwest Forsyth.
Engineer Michael Stubbs, who made the request on behalf of the landfill, said the soil is required for the landfill operations by state and federal permits, and it’s currently being hauled in.
The neighboring soil borrow area would save about 150,000 truck trips, Stubbs said.
“It’s very straightforward,” he said. “All we want to do is get soil off that facility and bring it to the adjacent Eagle Point Landfill.”
In addition to the county rezoning, the business must also acquire a permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which is expected to be approved soon.
The soil would be mined in such a way that “huge holes” would not be created and the land would be regraded to a gentler slope, Stubbs said.
After the 15 years of anticipated use, the business would replant the area.
The effects of the soil borrow area concern neighboring residents.
Pete Stokes, a third-generation property owner, said the way the mining plan has been presented could cause contamination of the ground water supply.
“It’s real simple,” Stokes said. “We have dirt here. We have contamination over here. If you dig the dirt out … you’re asking for it to leech into the hole that’s being dug.”
The water will follow “the path of least resistance,” he said, which means it will travel through the less dense areas.
Stokes said the ground water is his family’s only access to drinking water, since a public supply is not available in that part of the county.
“Once we have a problem there, the cleanup will be impossible,” he said.
The district’s planning board member, Jim Kinsey, said he understood the mining plan would simply change the topography, and not open up deep holes.
Also, Kinsey said the mining permit requires the operation to stay three feet above the ground water supply, which has been surveyed.
As a condition of the rezoning, the landfill could not be expanded into that area without returning to the county for a conditional use permit.
Another condition requires an internal access road for moving the soil and bans travel from the borrow area along Old Federal Road.
The planning board voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the rezoning to the county commission, which will have the final say on Sept. 20.