CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Profits over people – that’s how a Charlotte city councilmember is describing the decision to put a landfill on Kelly Road, which is surrounded by dozens of homes.
Neighbors were hoping to compromise with the landfill company to lessen the impacts of the 60-plus acre site but now they say the company is refusing to meet them halfway.
"We planned on living here the rest of our lives," Dan Campbell told WCNC Charlotte. "My wife is pregnant now, we wanted to raise our kids here and it's disheartening that our neighbors can just do something like this.”
The Campbells' backyard directly connects to where the landfill could be going. Dozens of residents oppose the plans, but there’s little they can do because the property’s zoning code allows for landfills.
“Dust, debris, noise, there’s a lot of other implications to think about,” Caitlin Campbell added.
Neighbors are requesting the company at least create a bigger buffer zone and a new route that keeps dump trucks away from homes. However, in Thursday night’s meeting between neighborhood leaders and the landowners, the answer was no.
“That was discouraging, disappointing, broke my heart right in half," Caitlin said about the meeting. "The Sanders have indicated at this point that they’re not willing to make any changes to the landfill.”
City councilman James Mitchell was at the meeting.
"I think they're moving forward in their best interest and not being sensitive by not trying to compromise with the neighborhood," Mitchell told WCNC Charlotte.
He explained that the city found six alternative property options for the landfill to go instead but the companies involved -- Dew Green and Sanders Utility -- didn't want them.
“This was definitely profits over people and that cannot continue to happen in this city,” Mitchell said.
WCNC Charlotte reached out to the Sanders, who own the land, and their company for comment. Steve Sanders replied that Sanders Utility is not affiliated with the landfill and he has no comment.
However, Mitchell said that doesn't quite add up.
"Maybe he's saying they didn't file the papers, that's accurate," Mitchell commented. "But to say that they're not going to use this landfill for work is very incorrect.”
Since the landfill follows city regulations, its permit application will likely be signed off on Jan. 19.
The companies will then need final approval from the state. Mitchell said he is rallying to get the permit denied since the company refused to work with neighbors.
Mitchell added that he is requesting Charlotte City Council to take a vote on changing zoning codes so that landfills can no longer go in residential areas.