Jacksonville homeowners pushing back on location of proposed waste transfer station meant to curb trash complaints

A waste transfer station is moving to Jacksonville and neighbors are not happy.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is a potential solution in the works for the thousands of missed trash complaints that have come to the city of Jacksonville for at least two years. But that potential solution has become a problem unto itself for hundreds of homeowners.

In November, News4Jax found records showing more than 79,082 complaints dating back to August 2019. Nearly 23,000 of the complaints involved the hauler Waste Pro.

According to one of the haulers and the city, part of the issue, along with the coronavirus pandemic, was the trek to the city landfill on the Westside. The long lines at the landfill were also preventing haulers from quickly going back to neighborhoods to finish the job.

City leaders proposed a transfer station, in which drivers could drop their load for another larger truck to take to the landfill.

Which brings us to a new issue that’s come up: Where do you put it?

Norman Brewer and hundreds of his neighbors in the Greenland Chase neighborhood in Mandarin are fighting a rezoning request by Waste Pro that would allow them to put a waste transfer station right behind the tree line of their neighborhood. The area is located within an industrial area near a city park.

“Quality of life -- off the bat -- is health concerns. Historically, there’s data that supports any kind of waste facility can promote poor health in a neighborhood,” Brewer said.

Roughly 300 neighbors have created a Facebook group dedicated to addressing concerns -- and planning their opposition -- to the proposed location of the waste transfer station. The concerns about the potential waste transfer station being within just a mile of their neighborhood range from health concerns and air quality and odor issues to drops in homeowners’ real estate value.

“You can’t tell me that we can’t find 40 acres in Duval County that is more suitable with less adverse impacts than this location right here,” said Brewer. “I would fight this for any community that is up against this because, today it’s us, but tomorrow it could be you on the Northside, you at the beach.”

Jacksonville City Councilman Danny Becton represents Brewer’s neighborhood. He has received more than a hundred complaints from constituents about the rezoning request.

“There has been a lot of misinformation put out there that this is a landfill, that it is a dump -- and it’s neither one of those things. It is a transfer station. It is going to be an enclosed facility where one truck can empty their contents into a bigger truck,” said Becton. “Now is it the best place? That’s to be decided. Is it a place that at this point in time can go through the rezoning phase and get approved? That’s to be decided.”

Becton said because of City Council policies he is not able to take a position on the issue. He is holding a community meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 27, at the Southpoint Community Church.

“We are 520 plus homes here -- that doesn’t count the surrounding neighborhoods. This is going to adversely impact well over a thousand homes in a 4-mile radius,” said Brewer. “We want answers.”

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.