Plans for a waste transfer station that could ultimately handle 1,000 tons of refuse daily have cleared a legal hurdle over the objections of the Aledo school district, city officials, Walsh Ranch developers and more than 900 residents, according to court documents.
An administrative law judge has ruled that the Brazos Transfer Station meets all state licensing requirements. But in his legal opinion, he stressed that the operators should use side roads to avoid snarling traffic for nearby schools.
The station, which would be just west of Fort Worth, still must win approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The commission's decision can be appealed, and the matter could ultimately end up in court.
The permit is being sought by Republic Waste Services. The station, to be built near Nu Energy Road and Interstate 20, would transfer to an authorized landfill a variety of waste, from residential and commercial municipal solid waste to wood, yard, construction and demolition and nonhazardous industrial waste. Initially, it would take in about 170 tons of waste daily but increase to 1,000 tons daily by 2030.
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Developer company Walsh Ranches has led the fight against the station. The 7,275-acre ranch is expected to be a key development, ultimately bringing in more than 14,000 single-family homes and 5,000 apartments. Fort Worth has begun annexing parts of the Parker County ranch under the development deal.
Opponents said the community would be better off if significant truck traffic was not added to the roads used to access the Aledo district's main campus, an elementary school, a ninth-grade center, a special-needs learning center, a high school, a stadium and other athletic fields.
Aledo school Superintendent Dan Manning said he's concerned for staff, students and parents who will drive on the roads. On average, about 2,000 teachers, staff and students commute to the Aledo district campus, with access from East Bankhead Highway and Bailey Ranch Road, according to court documents.
The judge wrote in his opinion that to the "greatest extent reasonably feasible, Republic must require collection trucks traveling to and from the Brazos Transfer Station to avoid using Nu Energy Drive and Bankhead Highway south of the transfer station unless they are working a collection route in that immediate area."
The company must also require transfer trucks traveling to and from the Brazos Transfer Station to avoid using Nu Energy Drive south of the transfer station, East Bankhead and Ranch House, the judge wrote.
Opponents contended, as well, that most of the area isn't zoned for such uses. Within one mile of the transfer station site, only 7.23 percent of the property is industrial. The judge found that Republic adequately analyzed existing land uses within one mile and future land uses based on growth trends within five miles of the proposed transfer station. "The evidence demonstrates that the proposed Brazos Transfer Station constitutes a land use that is compatible with both existing and future land uses in the area," the judge wrote.
Robert Cox of Aledo said the location of the trash station is ridiculous. He believes that Judge Richard Wilfong didn't consider the opposition voiced by 900 area residents.
"I could have predicted it would come out in favor of the trash company," Cox said. "The TCEQ, the system and the laws are not favorable toward citizen involvement and protests. It all comes down to the legal process. And it's political."
Darren Barbee, 817-390-7126