Supervisors seek cost proposal for landfill landscaping

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A graphic shows some of the options for landscaping that are under consideration for John Smith Landfill.

The views around the John Smith Landfill may get greener in the future as county supervisors have directed staff to see how much it would cost to put in improvements and what funding sources might be available.

“When you approved the application for a facility permit, you asked us to consider landscaping at the entrance and the ridge line,” said Mandy Rose, the director of Integrated Waste Management. “We have a couple ways of presenting landscaping at the entrance.”

In presenting a few images to the supervisors at the Nov. 6 meeting, Rose said they looked at plants that would not only add in greenery but also serve a function. They found a grass that cleans the air of pollutants and oleander bushes that help to catch run off.

“The intent is that it would be low maintenance,” said Steve Wittry, the public works director. “We will have the installation cost and cleaning up on an annual basis for debris, but nothing much.”

Supervisor Anthony Botelho was outspoken against the possibility of landscaping at the landfill.

“I think this is a tremendous waste of money,” he said. “It’s too much work for rangeland – it’s a landfill.”

Residents who live near the landfill broached the topic of landscaping at a previous meeting where supervisors approved a facility permit that increases the amount of waste tonnage that can be brought into John Smith each day.

Botelho suggested a community effort should be undertaken to do the landscaping, with donations and volunteer time.

As for the ridgeline, Wittry said the design included clumps of trees rather than a straight line because that would look more natural to the landscape.

“A straight line makes it look unnatural,” he said. “We want something up there that breaks up the landscape and draws the eyes’ focus away.”

He said the trees would not hide all the waste containers since the containers move around, but it would help to disguise them.

Supervisor Margie Barrios said she thought the supervisors’ should give direction to staff members to bring back a cost proposal. Supervisor Jerry Muenzer agreed.

“I agree we need to be good neighbors,” Muenzer said. “The hills blocked it, but basically the landfill is getting up to the ridgeline instead of down at the bottom.”

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