Oklahoma City Council votes to expand city landfill near Baptist church

The Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously to expand the area of a local landfill on the southeast side of the city, a decision that leaves the pastor to consider selling the property.
BY SARAH BOSWELL sboswell@opubco.com Published: July 4, 2012
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The pastor of Faith, Hope and Love Missionary Baptist Church in southeastern Oklahoma City told the city council Tuesday that odors from a nearby landfill threaten to reduce church attendance.

“When something like this begins to happen, nobody wants to say, ‘My church is Faith, Hope and Love — right across from the landfill. That's just not very popular,'” Willard Dallas said in speaking against plans to expand the landfill.

The Oklahoma City Council ultimately approved a zoning change that will allow the landfill to expand and stay in business for another 20 years. The alternative was for the landfill to close, and a new landfill could have meant an additional burden to taxpayers.

Dallas said one possible solution would be for the landfill company to buy his church, which is at the corner of SE 59 and S Bryant, so he could look into buying property for a new church. Over the last 10 years, the landfill company has bought almost all the houses near the church, he said.

“I wasn't really protesting them being there, just they are making it impossible for us to grow,” Dallas said after the meeting.

An attorney representing Southeast Oklahoma City Landfill said the landfill has nearly reached its height allowance as far as the dirt covering the buried trash. Expanding on the north side of the property is one way to keep the company in business.


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City council's other actions

In other business from Tuesday's Oklahoma City Council meeting, the council delayed further debate until later this month on what to do with a projected surplus of $1.5 million in this year's budget.

Possibilities include expanding Metro Transit bus service and adding an additional 20 police officers.

The council members unanimously approved an extension of the city's franchise agreement with Cox Communications for five years.

Cox is allowed to act like a public utility when it needs to install infrastructure, and in return pays a franchise fee and provides the city with a public access channel.

The council also approved a zoning change to allow a new compressed natural gas and gasoline station, along with a large convenience store, at NW 50 and Western Avenue as part of a Chesapeake Energy Corp. project.

Some nearby residents complained the large station could bring unwanted traffic and hurt property values, but others supported the project and said they trusted Chesapeake to limit the impact of the business on the surrounding area.

Councilmen Ed Shadid and Pete White voted against the change.

MICHAEL KIMBALL,

Staff Writer

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