By Jenna-Lee Neff
Recently, Republic Services invited members of the community to attend an open house event to see the proposed site for a new waste transfer station that has raised controversy locally.
In addition to the open house event (which took place on October 9), there was also a virtual town hall on September 19. For community members who couldn’t make either event, Republic Services offers a video tour of the proposed waste transfer station location as well as a link to the town hall audio conference on their website at westwingtransfer.com/resources.
Many locals have spoken out against the project, which has been in planning for more than a year and is on its second proposed location. Some of the most cited concerns are regarding potential health and safety, impact on home value, traffic disruptions, noise pollution, potential odors, and more.
In a letter sent to Maricopa County and shared in a Facebook group titled “Happy Valley Says NO to a Waste Transfer Station,” local resident Alicia Rooney echoed community concerns about the project.
“All in all, it will destroy our health, destroy our community, and cripple our home prices,” Rooney wrote.
In February 2021, Republic Services announced their intention to build the waste transfer station in an industrial area near El Mirage Road and Loop 303, just four months after they abandoned plans for the original location in response to community feedback.
The land, which is currently zoned ID-2 for light industrial use, will have to be rezoned to ID-3 to accommodate heavy industrial use before the company can move forward.
“Not only would this [rezoning] set a precedent for similar heavy-industrial companies to swoop on in and take over this residential area, but its close proximity to a sub-station is a disaster waiting to happen,” Rooney wrote.
Republic Services filed a rezoning application in August and Maricopa County held a technical advisory meeting on September 21. The meeting did not allow for public comment, but members of the public were welcome to tune in virtually as county agencies discussed the proposal. (Maricopa County has not scheduled an official hearing as of press time.)
“The benefits of this new location are numerous,” says Stephen Herring, municipal relationship manager for Republic Services. “For example, trucks will avoid main roads and neighborhoods, and will use a proposed future access road at the 303 and El Mirage. Republic Services commissioned independent studies that show the facility would not impact traffic, property values, or noise.”
According to Herring, Republic Services addressed concerns about potential odors by incorporating a mister system into the plans for the station.
“Transfer stations are critical pieces of infrastructure that allow community to grow and develop safely and sustainably,” Herring says, noting that there are more than 30 waste transfer facilities in Maricopa Country, including facilities in Scottsdale, Gilbert, and North Phoenix, but that the fast-growing Northwest Valley is the only part of the county without this infrastructure.
According to Herring, Republic Services is continuing outreach efforts with more open house style events to come. Concerned residents can provide feedback at [email protected].
To learn more or keep up with the latest information on the project, visit westwingtransfer.com.