Renton gives the OK for King County’s landfill expansion

Councilmembers questioned the county on alternatives, but voted to approve of the plan

In April, the King County council voted 5-2 approving a 2019 Comprehensive Solid Waste Plan that extends the life of the Cedar Hills Landfill.

But it wasn’t over yet.

Two more approvals are needed: one from the state Department of Ecology, and another by cities participating in King County solid waste. On Monday, July 15, the Renton City Council voted to approve a resolution in agreement with the plan.

King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin presented the plan to council at the July 15 committee of the whole meeting. Councilmembers asked McLaughlin questions after this presentation, making sure that no other cells could be created at the landfill, which sits between Renton and Maple Valley.

Councilmember Randy Corman said he’s talked to landfill neighbors who feel like the extensions of the landfill have been endless. Councilmember Carol Ann Witschi asked if the landfill could stop being used before it reaches capacity, if an alternative is decided on.

McLaughlin said they will be working on a new alternative to the landfill, and in his authorization he has no other place to put garbage, besides the new ninth cell. The division is creating a five-year plan for what’s next.

“We don’t see any other capacity at this landfill,” he said “I really believe what happens over the next five years will answer that question.”

The ninth cell will require the moving of two solid waste facilities. Councilmember Ryan McIrvin asked how the buildings will be moved, and McLaughlin said there will be a public notice asking residents where the facilities should go onsite.

Councilmember Ruth Perez said she wanted to make sure residents expressing concerns to the county are being heard.

“This is great plan but it’s in our backyard, and it’s impacting the quality of life of the residents of Renton,” she said.

Several amendments were included in the county’s plan after hundreds of public comments.

County councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Kathy Lambert both voted against the plan back in April.

“I’m going to vote no today because I want to protest the monolithic pile of garbage,” Dunn said at the meeting, as previously reported in the Reporter.

So far 10 cities had taken action, all in support of the plan, and McLaughlin said he doesn’t anticipate any cities opposing the plan.

In Resolution No. 4384, the city voted to adopt the comprehensive plan. The resolution discusses its work with King County and other municipalities to develop and review the plan. McLaughlin said the city is well-represented in their committees, and thanked the city for their work and being a host of their solid waste services.

For a 120 day period, ending in September, the county needs to ask for approval from cities within the interlocal agreements of solid waste services. The plan is approved if at least 75 percent of the population, represented by cities, agree with it in that.

The solid waste division serves 37 of the 39 King County cities; Seattle has its own division and Milton operates through Pierce County.

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