Cold Canyon Landfill expansion is approved by supervisors

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

South County’s sole landfill, Cold Canyon, has received the green light to expand.

The Board of Supervisors approved the expansion Tuesday after a four-hour hearing during which they sought to allay the concerns of Cold Canyon’s owners, who said the restrictions placed on them by the Planning Commission were too costly.

In the end, after going into great detail over such issues as who cleans up litter and under what circumstances, what to do about greenhouse gases, and how to control noise, supervisors approved the expansion on a 5-0 vote.

The growth is not going to happen quickly. Construction will not begin for two years.

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

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 can operate for an additional 25 years.

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.

Landfill owners received a permit to expand from the Planning Commission in August, but appealed the approval to the Board of Supervisors, arguing that the conditions applied by the commission were too costly and complicated. The Board of Supervisors modulated some of those conditions.

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