After a failed attempt to relocate the Indian Land convenience center, Lancaster County is continuing to search for a new site to build a facility that takes in household garbage and recyclables.
The county identified several properties in Indian Land that might be suitable for a convenience site, said County Administrator Steve Willis, and identified one site as a “favorite.” The county has begun negotiations with that property owner, Willis said.
A deal between the property owner and the county doesn’t mean that the convenience site is a done deal, however.
Before the site could be considered for a recycling center, it would have to be approved by the planning commission. Built into the process is time for public comments.
“Before we would close on a site or anything like that we would have the meeting to see if there was any objections from area residents,” Willis said.
The last proposed convenience center site, which was to be located near a park on Shelley Mullis Road, never made it to the public hearing stage. It met with so much public opposition that it was removed from consideration.
Any property in fast-growing Indian Land might have similar problems, Willis said.
“We’re jumping out of the frying pan into the fryer because [the prospective sites] are near other homes. We’re subjecting council member to a whole new set of emails by a whole new set of people. It’s hard to find something that’s near a lot of people but not too close to people,” Willis said.
The county has been operating a convenience site on Jim Wilson Road, but has to close it at the end of March because the owner of the property is a home builder who is expanding a new community on the property.
With little time to find a new convenience center site, the county has been scrambling for a location.
Five acres of land are needed for a permanent site, Willis said, as well as good road access, utilities and convenience to residents without infringing on neighbors.
Until a suitable location is found, Willis said residents are allowed to use the Foxhole Recycling Center across the state line in North Carolina.
Willis said the county did not have a lease on the property on Jim Wilson Road, just “a handshake deal, use it as long as you want.”
Only three of the county’s 12 convenience center sites sit on county-owned property right now, he added.
“And as opportunities come up, we’re trying to move that way, but when you’re trying to replace a courthouse, a new EMS station, convenience sites just haven’t risen to the top of that list,” he said.
Funding for the Indian Land convenience site property will come from the general fund, Willis said. That will require an amendment to the county budget, which will have to be voted on by the county council.
Indian Land is only the fifth-busiest convenience site of the 12 in Lancaster County, Willis said. It’s likely one of the slower convenience sites because so many of Indian Land’s residents have curbside garbage pickup, he added.