Mandarin residents don’t want proposed waste transfer station in their neighborhood -- or any other community

Dozens of neighbors from a Jacksonville suburb filled the chambers of City Hall Tuesday wearing all red.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of neighbors from a Jacksonville suburb filled the chambers of City Hall Tuesday wearing all red. For the last few weeks, they have been fighting to get one of the city’s trash haulers to find another place to build a waste transfer facility.

The facility is meant to be a location where trash haulers can dump their trash into a bigger truck that will go to the landfill so they can quickly go back to their routes. The city looked for a company to operate the waste transfer station and selected Waste Pro in 2019.

The station could be the solution to a problem the city’s faced for years as thousands of Jacksonville residents have complained about trash haulers missing trash pickup for weeks at a time -- and in some cases missing an entire street of a neighborhood. In November, News4Jax found the city amassed more than 79,000 complaints in more than a year.

“This is being proposed as a way to address collection issues throughout the southeastern part of the county,” said Waste Pro attorney Steve Diebenow.

Right now, Waste Pro is proposing that the transfer facility be located right behind the tree line of the Greenland Chase neighborhood. That brings us to the meeting Tuesday when residents of the neighborhood told city leaders the proposed station could risk their health. The residents, who formed a Facebook group with hundreds of members, are asking city leaders to not change the zoning that would allow Waste Pro to build the station there.

‘It is well documented that actual communities that waste facilities are built into suffer from negative health outcomes,” said resident Ashley Reid. “This is why we are not only firmly opposing waste transfer station in our neighborhood but really any residential neighborhood. We do not want it on the Northside, on the Westside. Try to find places without people living there.”

Roughly 300 neighbors have formed the 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 a mile of their neighborhood range from health concerns and air quality and odor issues to drops in homeowners’ real estate value.

Due to rezoning being quasi-judicial, all City Council members must not take a position until all testimony, public comments, and debate have occurred. City Council members could be disqualified from voting if they are found in violation.

A community meeting is planned for May 27 at the Southpoint Community Church from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., though check-in for the meeting is at 5 p.m.

About the Author:

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