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No new landfill without road, planners say

Narrow, unpaved Enterprise Road is deemed insufficient for the truck traffic the facility would generate.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000


DADE CITY -- The Larkin family has hit a hurdle in its race to build a landfill east of Dade City and it has nothing to do with the project's proximity to the Withlacoochee River.

Pasco County planners are withholding their blessing of the project, a 155-acre landfill at Enterprise and Auton roads, until owner Jon Larkin agrees to pave an access road for the dump and complementary dirt mine.

As a "Class III" landfill, the Enterprise Recycling and Disposal Facility could accept yard trash, construction debris, asbestos, carpet, cardboard, paper, glass, furniture, appliances and tires.

The operation will generate an estimated 68 truck trips each day, according to Larkin's application. But the same application leaves unpaved Enterprise Road, a narrow dirt road running east from Old Lakeland Highway.

"There isn't sufficient width for trucks to pass each other," county zoning administrator Fred Lowndes said Wednesday. "It's certainly a reasonable request when you're hauling truckloads of dirt."

The landfill, which could operate as long as 25 years, would be the county's first private Class III landfill. The county runs a similar landfill in Shady Hills.

Citing the need to diversify their business, the Larkins want to open the landfill on some of their 3,000 acres east of Dade City, much of it devoted to citrus and cattle.

In a rush to get the project approved, the Larkins have simultaneously submitted two applications: one a request for a conditional-use permit on land zoned agricultural, the other construction plans needing the approval of county engineers.

Both are up for consideration today before Pasco's Development Review Committee. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey.

Gerald Figurski, Larkin's attorney, said his client, to get the committee's approval, will likely agree to the paving request.

"My guess is if all this is approved . . . they'll start on the project immediately," Figurski said.

Questions about the dump's threat to the Withlacoochee River and Green Swamp will largely be left to the state Department of Environmental Protection, the agency responsible for issuing the landfill permit.

Figurski argues the landfill is an appropriate use of the land, being that it partly abuts the East Pasco County Landfill on Auton Road.

But at least one member of a citizens group that tried to shut down the county landfill has complained about the risk to the water supply. Larkin's dump would be about twice the size of the adjacent county dump.

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