Prince William County lawmakers, continuing what they acknowledged has become an elaborate hand-wringing exercise, voted yesterday to consider two new locations as possible sites for a landfill to bury construction debris.
In a unanimous vote, the Board of County Supervisors agreed to an engineering study to determine whether two areas of western Prince William would be feasible alternatives to a site that one board member has raised objections about.
The supervisor, Robert L. Cole (D-Gainesville), said he proposed the two alternatives, both of which are in his district, after flying over them in a rented airplane Monday.
Cole is opposed to placing the dump at what has become the leading site for a new county landfill -- also in his district, west of Haymarket and south of I-66. He claims the site would be too close to many residents and would use land better suited for economic development.
Prince William's soaring growth has presented it with a mounting problem of where to dispose of the tree stumps, building materials and other refuse that are inevitably produced at a construction site. The county has placed a ban on private debris landfills, which are almost always wildly unpopular with nearby residents, but the decision of where to place a county-owned facility has been marked by anguish and delay.
Cole said his two new locations, both of which are about two miles west of the Haymarket dump site, are more rural and "impact on fewer people."
Although the board agreed to study Cole's sites, some expressed impatience with the speed at which the landfill search is being carried out.
"I'd like for this to be the final cut," said Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco).
Another site in western Prince William was recently eliminated as a possible dump site after the supervisors learned that the ground was once the site of a Civil War battle.
In other action at yesterday's meeting, Cole directed the county executive's office to arrange an information session at which the Hazel/Peterson Cos. would explain its plan to build a Tysons Corner-size shopping center next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Opponents have called for a public hearing before the supervisors to protest the proposed shopping mall, but county officials have maintained the project already has the zoning it needs and a public hearing is not necessary.
Cole said an information session for residents fearful of the mall's traffic and visual impact "would hopefully put those fears to rest."
The supervisor said most of his constituents were in favor of the shopping center. Only a small fringe of citizens was adamantly against it, he said.
There are people who "are against the mall and are against growth," Cole said after the meeting. "And I think they're probably against motherhood and apple pie."