The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency has purchased a 54-acre parcel along Brickyard Road in Van Buren to improve road access to Site 31, a 387-acre county-owned property that is permitted as an ash-only landfill.
The purchase will enhance the value of the potential landfill site as Brickyard Road has better access to Interstates 690 and 90. North Brickyard Road, a town road limiting vehicle weight to five tons, was the only access to Site 31 prior to the purchase.
"We knew this was coming for quite some time now," said Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes. "We objected early on and our representative to the OCRRA board, Roger Eidt, voted no on the purchase but to no avail."
The county currently sends non-combustible solid waste and ash to Seneca Meadows landfill in Seneca County. That contract is set to expire in May 2011, at which point OCRRA will renegotiate with Seneca Meadows or another facility. According to County Legislator Bob Warner, who represents the towns of Van Buren and Camillus, the site is unlikely to ever become a landfill under the current guidelines, which permit for ash only. Any change to the permit would have to be approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which Warner said he would adamately oppose.
Sykes added the county would have to invest millions to make a Van Buren landfill a reality.
"This purchase certainly makes the site more valuable, but the permit would still need to be changed," Sykes said. "An ash only site is only good if you have an incinerator plant. As long as the tipping fees at Seneca Meadows remain lower than the projected cost of a permit change and the multi-million dollar investment to construct the landfill, I do not think we have much to worry about. Further, OCCRA has told the town that this site is only for Onondaga County residents."
On the bright side, the town's tax base may benefit from the purchase financially.
"We are looking for some adjustment to the interim host agreement due to this purchase, namely an increase in the PILOT payment," Sykes added.
OCRRA purchased the two-parcel property for $100,000 from Paul Turner.