McELHATTAN - The Wayne Township Landfill's plans for a new office and entrance are still moving ahead, if a bit slowly, according to Landfill Manager Jay Alexander.
Alexander said authority officials hope to begin construction in July and finish the project in the fall.
The new 12,000-square foot, one-story office building is actually designed to be three facilities in one, Alexander said. It will include one section for a meeting area, employee storage and wellness facilities. A second area will be an educational center, and a third will act as office and administration headquarters.
The 16-acre project includes parking for 100 cars and nearby truck parking in an open area. The tipping area and scale facilities will move "several years from now," Alexander said.
He said the move was designed to facilitate a new office and parking areas for personnel and equipment, with the possibility of a new access road, all planned for the future.
Another primary reason for the move is to allow the nearby First Quality Tissues complex to expand its facilities. The present landfill route runs through the FQ property, between two of the larger buildings at that site.
Alexander also said pains are being taken to address the concerns expressed by some township residents at municipal meetings that the rural nature of the community be preserved, along with the residential nature of McElhattan Avenue and the road where the properties exist.
The properties are on the east side of McElhattan Drive, between the landfill road and the railroad tracks. The actual footprint of the landfill will remain the same, including the operation of the scales.
First Quality, the largest employer at the Harold S. Sweeney Industrial Park adjacent to the landfill, has requested an abandoning of Landfill Drive to facilitate its operations and for possible expansion.
In the meantime, Alexander said, increased manpower demands have resulted in the authority outgrowing its present office building.
"We've been making one move after another, and it's been very productive," Solid Waste Authority Chairman Jim Maguire Sr. said.
"The old administration building is piecemeal," Maguire said. "It was put together a long time ago and has been added on three or four times. The new entrance will give us better access to the property, facilitate First Quality's plans for the future and open up our access to the newer section of the landfill."
Thus far, Alexander said, the project is expected to cost about $2.5 million for the building. The authority has already spent $1.1 million to acquire properties for the move.
Last March, the Wayne Township supervisors approved a zoning amendment to change the 11 properties the authority purchased from Village Commercial to Industrial to facilitate plans for construction.
The next stage for the authority is to approach the township again for a "conditional use" permit, at which time, the township's residents would again be given an opportunity to voice their suggestions for any appropriate restrictions to the project. By law, those restrictions would have to be reasonable and directly associated with the project at hand.
Landfill officials said the 7-foot grade will occur in a 70-foot setback area that would likely be used as a rural pathway, or some future memorial function designated by the township itself. The authority will work with township officials to set a direction for the other side of the road, where benches and sidewalk areas are a concern.
Next up for the project, Alexander said, is a preliminary review of the progress by the Clinton County Planning Commission, which will forward its comments to township officials.
"First Quality has expanded substantially since I joined the board," long-time authority member Jeffrey Burnham said. "As neighbors, we did some land exchanges to facilitate that. Right now, the authority owns the road into the landfill, but the first two-thirds or so of that road passes between buildings owned by First Quality. They have plans for future expansion and increasing amounts of traffic of their own ... This little two-lane has twice as many trucks coming into the landfill as it did a decade ago, and probably twice as many for First Quality."
As operations move to the north side of the landfill under the new expansion permit, Burnham said, there's going to be a need for "full-time use of our own road."
As for the office, Burnham said, the facility is "woefully overtaxed."
Between expansion of business and expansion of the workforce, there are expanded needs for technological improvements, he said.
"We've taken up all the space we can, including a meeting room that's now divided up into offices. A new administrative building next to the road should be able to handle all the personnel and technological equipment. It still surprises me how much of a technical operation a landfill is, but I've learned. We have engineers, GPS systems, technicians and surveyors ... When it's not just guys out in the field, you need a fair amount of office space."