City to bury dispute with trash operator

A rendering of what the landscaped transfer station entrance would look like.

Evanston officials hope to resolve a five-and-a-half-year-old dispute with operators of the trash transfer station on Church Street with a City Council vote tonight.

Residents who complained about odors and rat problems at the transfer station back in 2010 led the city to more aggressively enforce nuisance ordinances and to impose a $2 per ton fee on the transfer operation and fight to block what it called an expansion of the station's operation, which also included landscaping the entrance to the facility..

The company, then known Veolia Waste Management and now known as Advanced Disposal Services, sued to challenge the fee and now City Attorney Grant Farrar is proposing a settlement that would let the changes to the facility move forward and that would cut the city's fee to $0.75 per ton.

The current entryway to the transfer station.

Under the settlement, the city would be allowed to keep the over $1.25 million in fees the company has paid under protest since filing the suit but would be barred from filing any future claims against the company regarding the past operation of the transfer station.

A diagram of the planned changes at the transfer station.

The city would not collect any transfer fees this year. The new, lower fee wouldn't go into effect until 2017 and the city would be forever barred from increasing it.

The company and city would also establish a Host Community Agreement that would provide a process for handling complaints about the station's operation and city inspection of the facility.

The transfer station has operated at the site at 1711 Church St. since 1984 under a license issued by the state Environmental Protection Agency.

Related stories

Residents doubt Veolia can be good neighbor (1/21/2011)

How it works: Veolia transfer station (11/29/2010)

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Comments

Can you hear me now?

I asked this once before but I guess no one on the city council reads Evanston Now. Why won't one of the alderpersons (or mayor) propose an exchange of land between the transfer station and the old recycling center on Oakton. What would be their reasoning against an exchange of these properties (other than Ann might not like it)?

Ummmm.... Oakton Neighbors Would Be Against It!

Nice of you to desire wedging that stench people have been complaining about since they built those townhouses into my neighborhood.  That transfer station stinks every summer and anyone that drives down Church Street knows it.  Those townhouses should never have been built next door and anyone with a nose could have known there was going to be a dust-up after people moved into them.  Big surprise to see that play out [sarcasm].  So, in this instance, I'm waving my NIMBY shield loudly and proudly.  SW Evanstonians certainly do not need you menacing us with your idea of relocating the transfer station to our neighborhood.... your idea STINKS.

Not OK for NIMBY but it's OK for "them"?

So it's ok with you that the residents of the 2nd & 5th Wards have to put up with the stink? The recycling center is in a zoned INDUSTRIAL district (that is why we have zoning laws). And if you want to talk about "stink", have you ever driven down Howard or Oakton by the Water Filtration Plant (Skokie) on a hot and humid summer day? That is STINK! Look at the density of housing where the transfer station is currently located and then look at he wide open space where the recycling center is. Now, try to make an impartial judgement. And by the way, I too am a SW Evanston resident.

Transfer Station....

If you are indeed a SW Evanstonian, then you should very quickly remember the stench that wafted through the neighborhood from the yard waste that Evanston dumped on the western edge of James Park.... where Gordon Foods currently sits.  Evanston offered a service of free mulch and soil from that service to our residents, but the smell was terrible and residents both north, south and east of the area vocalized the issue.  Eventually that service was shut down because of the smell.  That wide open space you so quickly refer to as a positive proved to be no better than the situation currently taking place on Church Street.  In actuality, it just proves that an open area simply allows a smell to permeate even further than would any contained area.  Further, in re-reading my comment, nowhere did I say it was ok for the residents of any Evanston Ward to suffer the stench of such a place.  Taking a chance you forgive such rudeness, I repeat myself.... the townhouses next door to that transfer station should never have been built because the transfer station already existed in that location and already reeked during the summer.  It was a KNOWN factor.  Now, having built those townhouses, the developer has foisted an issue off on the city that needs to be managed.  MANY SW Evanston residents would not want to go through a repeat of the yard waste years and would mount opposition to a transfer station relocation.  The best course of action would be to situate that transfer station somehwere west of Howard Street's Northshore Water Reclamation District so that the two stenches might share the same space.  That will never happen and this entire conversation is a waste of time because the city is never going to give a nod to the ridiculous notion of relocating the transfer station on the fringe of James Park.  I simply marvel at the audacity of anyone wanting to relocate a known problem to another area of town where it would be "less of a problem."  Less implies the problem would still exist... I must give you credit, your benevolance toward your Church Street neighbors is outstanding.

Transfer Station Deal

The deal is not a fix for the complaints of noise and odor. A step in the right direction would be to move it to ample open space environment (Oakton St).-- a new structure that would be a Class AAA --ENLOSED concrete station. Would the city of Evanston taxpayers be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the landscape along the berm of the townhouses and the entry and exit of the trucks? If the EPA says it is on the low end of compliance, then that issue should be a major issue in the agreement. The acceptance of the monetary $MM would be a short sighted approach. As the city continues to grow with residential construction, would that be a concern as to the amount of garbage that will increase? It sounds like the deal is saying "don't go away mad, just go away and leave us alone (forever)". The location is bad on Church St. and the school traffic is increasing, as well. The settlement of $MM would be a quick one time fix for 1 year.... the deal is a (forever) short sighted approach. To reduce the cost per ton would be to lower the expectations of a better solution (forever). Have a pro bono architect sketch a plan that would be in an obscure location set back from the street with the appropriate landscaping that would offset the whim of the residents and elected official in that ward. The payoff to have this business in a residential area in 1984 was a mistake. Why make the same mistake twice.

Sounds like a lousy deal for

Sounds like a lousy deal for Evanston. How can anyone agree to a fixed fee that can NEVER be increased?

Yes -- apparently needs Negotiating 101 course

A government fee that never increases?  Never?  How about does not increase for five years?  I could live with that but forever is a raw deal for City of Evanston taxpayers.

Who does the negotiating for the City of Evanston?  My teenager could do better than that.

Deal ONLY makes sense if city wants the $1.25 million right now

If you read the memo from Grant Farrar it indicates that the city has put the $1.25 million in escrow while the matter was under litigation. So if they lost the suit they would not have to take money from the general budget.

This only plausible explanation for accepting this deal is if the City Manager wants to spend that $1.25 million right now. It would be like an immediate injection of "unexpected" cash that could be used to pay for something not previously budgeted (Hawley Clarke repairs, anyone??).

An injection of cash is fine and dandy, but you are selling out future residents and the neighbors around the waste transfer station if this is accepted.

Like Chicago meter deal?

Daley's Chicago made a horrible deal for turning its parking meters over to a private company for 99 years, if I'm not mistaken.  Few of us will be lucky enough to live to see the end of that deal which has already proven disastrous for the citizens of Chicago.  But none of us will live to see the end of this deal. Hate to trash talk but never is forever.


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