Cold Canyon Landfill owners appeal approval of expansion plan

A San Luis Garbage truck drops off a load at Cold Canyon Landfill on Highway 227.
A San Luis Garbage truck drops off a load at Cold Canyon Landfill on Highway 227. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Owners of the South County’s sole landfill received a permit from the Planning Commission last summer to expand, but they have appealed that approval to the Board of Supervisors, saying the conditions attached to it are onerous.

A neighbor of the Cold Canyon Landfill has filed a separate appeal because of noise the landfill generates.

In August, the commission ended months of hearings and hours of public testimony by telling Corral de Piedra Land Company it could expand its Cold Canyon operation on Highway 227 south of San Luis Obispo.

The project would be phased in and increase the landfill’s “footprint” disposal area by 46 acres, up from 88 acres. The tonnage allowed would also increase, to 2,050 from 1,620 daily. It would create a new entrance and scale house a quarter-mile south of the current entrance.

None of this would happen quickly. Construction was not expected to begin for two years. Some aspects of the landfill, such as the operating hours, would stay in place more than two years before the eventual expansion.

Changes to Highway 227, which include a new left-turn lane, wouldn’t take place for at least 10 years.

Cold Canyon’s operators have estimated that seven years of capacity remain, possibly less. Once expanded, the landfill could operate for an additional 25 years.

Although they received approval for their plans to grow larger, landfill operators bristled at some of the more than 130 conditions the commission and county planners attached to it, conditions that range from litter control to landscaping.

The dump’s owners are appealing more than 30 of the conditions. In broad, general terms they are saying they are not legally required and it will cost too much money to adhere to the conditions.The dispute is being played out against the backdrop of what has become an important county resource.

Planning Commissioner Carlyn Christiansen called the landfill “extremely important to residents and business.”

Cold Canyon is the only landfill south of the Cuesta Grade, and it provides a disposal site for trash created by residents from Ragged Point to Nipomo, including San Luis Obispo and other cities. There are two landfills in the North County.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo.