Deffenbaugh Industries’ plans for a solid waste transfer station in Blue Summit moved a step closer to approval Friday after a Jackson County hearing at which dozens of residents and business owners with “Vote No!” signs came to oppose the idea.

Deffenbaugh Industries’ plans for a solid waste transfer station in Blue Summit moved a step closer to approval Friday after a Jackson County hearing at which dozens of residents and business owners with “Vote No!” signs came to oppose the idea.


The County Legislature’s Land Use Committee voted to 2-1 to recommend approving a permit for the facility following more than two hours of reports from staff, then comments from Deffenbaugh and opponents. The issue is on the agenda of the full nine-member Legislature on Monday, though it could be delayed. It meets at 2:30 p.m. on the second floor of the downtown Courthouse, 415 E. 12th St.


“If we let this happen here, everybody’s going to lose on all their properties. And besides, it just doesn’t fit,” said Sal Saladino, who owns Saladino Mechanic across the street from the proposed site on Television Place. A group called Jackson County Citizens for Economic Justice presented a petition with what organizers said were 714 signatures opposed to the permit.


“We don’t want to be a dump,” said resident James Chandler.


A Deffenbaugh representative said that the company has altered its plans based on residents’ and other businesses’ concerns, and said traffic won’t be as burdensome as feared, odors can be controlled and the company wants to be a good neighbor, as its transfer stations elsewhere have turned out to be.


Deffenbaugh plans a $2 million building on a 6.3-acre site on Television Place just north of 23rd Street. Trucks that pick up trash and recyclables from homes and businesses would drop off materials to be sorted and reloaded into larger trucks, making for more efficient hauling overall to a Deffenbaugh landfill and recycling center, both in Kansas. The facility would take in loads daily from 71 to 100 packer trucks – the kind that pick up trash – and send out another 25 to 30 transport trucks.


But residents, Blue Summit businesses and others in the trash industry raised several concerns:


• Noise, odors, dust and vermin. Lyle Case, manager of the nearby Blue Ridge Mobile Homes, said 400 people live there and that a southwest wind will blow odors from the facility directly at them. “They will move. I will lose some people,” he said.


“Our wind blows from the south,” said resident Marice Norris. “We will get the odors. We will get the dust and the bugs and the rats.”


Brad Scott, representing Deffenbaugh, said the building would open to the southeast and the work of sorting trash would be done indoors. The staging area will be cleaned daily. Trash won’t be there long, he said. “It’s incumbent upon us to get that garbage off a truck and onto a truck as quickly as possible,” Scott said. Also, the transfer station is mostly surrounded by woods and is about 30 feet lower than the mobile homes.


“All of those things should act to mitigate any odor problems,” Scott said. He said the company runs transfer stations – successfully and as a good neighbor – in other light industrial areas.


• Traffic. The Deffenbaugh site is just around the corner from where Television Place meets 23rd Street (just east of Interstate 435). That’s the only way Deffenbaugh’s trucks would go in and out, the company insists, but some worried about the wear and tear on Television Place.


Also, First Student, has about 90 school buses in its lot nearby, and when they go out and back in the morning, then out and back again in the afternoon, they get backed up at the light at 23rd Street. They are going right, but school buses can’t make a right turn on red, and the company said three buses make it per green light. Legislator Bob Spence, R-Lee’s Summit, however, said First Student’s morning buses are gone before the transfer station would open at 7 a.m. and are back before its 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. peak time, and that the afternoon buses also would miss the peak time.


Legislator Fred Arbanas, D-Lee’s Summit, said he’d like to explore the possibility of a feeder lane to ease traffic flow. If that came about, Deffenbaugh would pay for it, the company said.


The company will not allow its drivers to head north out of the transfer station and go through the main part of Blue Summit to get to Truman Road and then I-435. “If they don’t (go south), those drivers will be fired,” Scott said.


• The impact on local business. “We’ve worked hard to try to make the area better place,” said Ron Boone, who has a forklift business. Other business owners said they plan a community improvement district, a means of directing tax dollars to specific improvements. Several business owners and residents spoke of their pride in the progress they see the area having made in the last 15 years or so.


“I’m tired of being called ‘Dogpatch,’” Boone said. “Now we’ll be called the dump.”


• The impact on other trash companies. Several witnesses said Deffenbaugh would use the facility not just to lower its own costs, as it says, but to squeeze smaller players in the solid waste businesses.


“I just feel like it’s going to put local businesses in jeopardy because it’s going to basically create a monopoly,” said Dustin Ferrell of the family that owns Ted’s Trash Service in Independence. He expressed a concern that Deffenbaugh would undercut competitors, and he pointed that that there are two other transfer stations within four miles of the Deffenbaugh site.


Sugar Creek Mayor Stan Salva said the Deffenbaugh facility would divert trash from the Courtney Ridge landfill and that would mean lower revenues for the city, though he gave no specifics.


County officials said legally they cannot take into account whether a facility gives one company an advantage over another.


Spence and Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz, D-Blue Springs, voted in favor of the plan. Garza Ruiz said she had opposed a transfer station several years ago in Blue Springs but that it’s turned out that things have gone well, she said, adding that the county’s staff had recommended approval of the permit. The County Plan Commission voted 5-4 against the permit, but that is not binding on the Legislature.


Arbanas voted no but suggested he might change his mind before the full Legislature votes.


On Friday, he wanted to hold the issue while he visited at least one operating transfer station – something he said he still plans to do over the weekend – and looked into issues such as the feeder lane, but Spence and Garza Ruiz pushed for a vote.