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Local News

Commission Postpones Review of Tajiguas Landfill Resource Recovery Project

Santa Barbara County plans to build a Resource Recovery Project for the Tajiguas landfill that could extend the life of the landfill another 10 years by diverting recyclables and green waste.

The County Planning Commission will decide whether the proposed project conforms to land use regulations but wants to wait until the environmental review documents are finished. At Wednesday’s meeting, public works staff agreed to push the hearing to February.

The Resource Recovery Project includes a composting area and trash-to-energy anaerobic digester that would convert food and green waste to gas, which then powers electric generators on site. The Materials Recovery Facility would sort through trash to separate recyclables for sale.

The Tajiguas landfill is located at 14470 Calle Real on the Gaviota Coast and is estimated to hit capacity by 2026. With this facility, the landfill could be used for another 10 years, according to county estimates.

There is a lot of interest in this project and concern about the potential sites. The county’s top choice is the Tajiguas landfill, but there are alternatives located all over the South Coast.

Some of the alternatives aren’t expected to reduce environmental impacts compared to the Tajiguas location and four rural locations aren’t feasible, according to environmental documents.

Options studied in the environmental documents include: Westwind Drive-In land in Goleta; Santa Barbara-owned property near the airport; the MarBorg David Love Place Recycling Center adjacent to the city of Goleta; MarBorg Industries at 620 Quinientos St. in Santa Barbara; the county-operated South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station at 4430 Calle Real; the state-owned Earl Warren Showgrounds; and the county-owned Garden Street parking lot within Santa Barbara.

There has been pushback from environmental groups to expanding Tajiguas on the rural Gaviota Coast and members of the public are concerned the alternative sites are too close to neighborhoods.

Environmental documents seem to earmark the Transfer Station as the ideal alternative, Ruth Von Eberstein said during public comment. She argued to the Planning Commission that the risk of fire is higher with a Materials Recovery Facility and the surrounding area is a higher fire risk.

Other speakers argued against the Transfer Station site as well, saying it would have negative impacts on the nearby residents.

Ana Citron, an environmental attorney representing the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, said the county needs to carefully vet the possible locations for the facility.

“The importance of the Gaviota Coast really for all of, all of us in the county and the state and nation, is something we hope you’ll take to heart before considering whether further industrialization of this site is appropriate on the Gaviota Coast and serves the interest of all county residents,” she said.

Draft environmental documents are available and should be finalized by the February meeting, public works staff said.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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