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Travis County Commissioners Court

September 29, 2009,
Item 60

View captioned video.

Number 60 is the matter involving the request for a development permit for the b.f.i.
sunset farms landfill site at 10200 giles road.

>> I have a couple of questions.
I see some of the applicants are here.
if they don't mind coming forward, I would like to ask a couple of questions before we take action.
how are you all doing today?

>> hello, Commissioner.

>> are you all doing all right?

>> doing great, thank you.

>> good, good, I just have a couple of questions for ya.
could you tell me from -- some sources that are -- that I've been able to gather that this particular operation, if this particular permit is granted and of course with the action that was taken before the tceq I understand that this particular operation will be 24/7, in other words 24 hours a day, seven days a -- 24 hours every -- every seven days, every day all day long as far as your operation of the b.f.i.
landfill site.
is that -- is that factual?

>> lee kuhn, general manager b.f.i.
here in Austin.
technically, yes, currently we are operating 24/6.
24 hours a day, six days a week.

>> so it's not 24/7.

>> that's correct.

>> and secondly, do you know the -- the volume of cubic yards of waste that will be used as far as the capacity for this particular operation with your -- with the approval of of course tceq, granting you all a permit I guess per se, whatever that operation was over there when y'all went over there.
could you tell me basically I'm looking for the capacity?
could you tell me what the capacity is of that?

>> yes, sir, the expansion would grant an additional 10.6 million cubic yards.

>> which would be a grand total of how many cubic yards?

>> 37 million total.

>> 37 million.

>> correct.

>> over the entire --

>> over the life.

>> correct.

>> of the permit.

>> yes, sir.

>> all right.
also, I understand that -- that the height of this particular landfill is to be 795 feet high.
that's vertical.
and is that factual?

>> no.
not -- technically 795 feet msl, mean sea level.

>> which will actually end up being I guess if you were looking at things, the highest point here in Travis County as far as any building or -- I understand it's even compared to mount bonnell, it exceeds the height of mount bonnell.
and with this particular height.
as far as vertical expansion.
and in other words it's not -- it's no structure whether it be

>> [indiscernible] building here in Travis County that will be -- will be -- that will exceed this height for what I'm understanding now.

>> in -- rachel here permit of record is here with us today.
he's got some of those numbers that he can share with you.

>> all right.
well, that's -- that's according to the sources and I guess printed sources and printed deals, so I'm just wondering whether that's factual or not.
in other words it's been laid out publicly that -- is the case.

>> thank you, Commissioner.
ray shoal.

>> how are you doing.

>> for sunset farms.

>> are you doing all right?

>> I'm doing fine.
hope that you are, too, this afternoon.
the landfill, as you said, has a maximum elevation at the top of 795 msl.
underneath that location it has a base elevation of about 640, so it's really only about 155 tall from top to bottom.
that's not anywhere close to the tallest structure, even manmade, in Travis County.
and 795 is not the tallest point in Travis County.
the tallest point in Travis County has an elevation of a little over 1200 feet.

>> so that I guess what we heard on the news as far as that is not a true fact.
I guess they were comparing it from -- from whatever that is at the base there as far as the expansion of that will -- will actually be 795 feet.
which is a true fact.
if you would have -- if you were to start from that level up.

>> the -- I think the article, at least the one that I saw printed in the chronicle.
the week before last.

>> I don't know what you are --

>> had pretty -- I'll say emphatic graphic and had a portrayed the landfill as being taller than mount bonnell, taller than the frost bank tower, taller than the -- than the new condo downtown.
republic services or b.f.i.
contacted the chronicle using some of the information that we provide and then also other information and the chronicle the next week printed a retracks stated they had made a number of errors in their graphic and apologized for whatever misinformation they had presented.

>> okay.
but as far as the residents and also part of the problem that we had encountered over the years is a lot of the complaints as far as your odors, things of that nature is concerned, and also the -- like -- what was that?
the little school, there was a little school actually located not too far from ya.
and of course understand that the I guess bluebonnet elementary school the kids were not able to go out and recess and play and there was a lot of concern by the parents and residents in that area because a lot of the odors and a lot of other things that had been brought to our attention over the course of this whole process as we've gotten involved with this.
I think those persons are -- will probably still have the same concerns.
and of course I guess you realize that this particular operation is located within the precinct I represent.
I want you to understand that I'm here also to make sure that the persons in my community are fairly represented the best of my abilities as far as giving them that representation.
so I had to ask these particular questions because of the fact that -- was out there.
and of course when it's out there you have got to ask the questions.
so I'm asking these questions because I just think that the public needs to know exactly what's going on here with this particular process and now you are here before the Commissioners court seeking a development permit.
but of course the tceq was one thing and this is something else.
so -- so anyway I really do appreciate your -- your giving me some -- some answers to some questions that I think the public needs to hear.
and to understand.
so I appreciate that.

>> thank you,.

>> thank you.

>> did you want a response to that, Commissioner?
thank you for your comments.
that's what I think we will say.

>> so what's the importance of the -- of the development permit to b.f.i.

>> we have received the tceq permit granting us authority to construct.
it says if we need any other local permits we need to go get them.
this is a local permit that we need to secure.
so that's -- it's important to us to be able to proceed and not be in violation of your ordinance because we don't have the permit.
so we need the permit in order to expand the landfill.

>> so if there's I guess a motion for a rehearing or an appeal, what will that do to I guess the operations at b.f.i.
while the appeal is still pending?

>> if there is a -- if there is a motion for rehearing, then the Commissioners at the tceq will consider that and if they grant it, then there would be a rehearing on whatever issue they granted it on.
if they do not grant it, then the protestants, tj, fa and the neighbors can file an appeal.
if they file an appeal, then that would be the -- the sort of the -- the most -- most aggressive extension of that set of facts, it would do nothing to our permit.
we would still have the permit because it was validly granted and will remain validly granted until -- unless and until it's overturned by a court.
so the short answer is it does nothing.
except it sets up an appeal for some future deliberation by first the district court and then if necessary the appellate courts.

>> did you state your name for the record.

>> yes, sir, I can.
my name is paul gosselink, judge, I'm sorry.

>> you haven't been down here for a long time.

>> I forgot to say my name.

>> any other questions from the court.

>> I just want a clarification to make sure what you are saying.
so the tceq permit has been issued and you will be able to operate under that tceq permit, irrespective of the pendancy of an appeal.

>> that's correct.
we need your permit before we exceed our geometric boundaries, but we have our tceq permit.

>> I understand.

>> well, I was wanting to tell b.f.i.
to wait until after the tceq ruling on the application before the county should take action.
and that has taken place.
so I move that we approve the request for a development permit by b.f.i.
sunset farms.

>> second.

>> discussion?

>> I just want to make the point that my vote on this development permit is based on our rule that requires that all the necessary permits be in place based on what we have heard from our own attorneys as well, from mr. Gosselink that the permit that tceq has issued is effective now.
so I believe that -- is compliance with our ordinance as well.

>> ditto.

>> any more discussion?
all in favor?
show Commissioners Eckhardt, Gomez, Huber and yours truly voting in favor.
Commissioner Davis.

>> voting no.

>> voting no.

>> thank you.

>> thank you all very much.

>> thank you.

>> thank you.

>> okay.

The Closed Caption log for this Commissioners Court agenda item is provided by Travis County Internet Services. Since this file is derived from the Closed Captions created during live cablecasts, there are occasional spelling and grammatical errors. This Closed Caption log is not an official record the Commissioners Court Meeting and cannot be relied on for official purposes. For official records please contact the County Clerk at (512) 854-4722.

Last Modified: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 6:03 PM


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