Cornelius Kirschner a 62-year-old retiree walks around his Millhouse Road home. You can tell that he has put in a lot of work — he built the house himself in 1972. And what was once covered in brush is now a beautiful home. It's next to a pond and yard where he keeps bees ducks and geese.
All the while traffic can be heard from Interstate 40 and from trucks traveling to and from the nearby Chapel Hill Town Operations Center which houses both the public works and transportation departments.
Kirschner turns up his outdoor radio to drown out the noise. Then he points over a hill toward the back of his property" just past a set of rust red railroad tracks — just past where his 11 hens were just killed by a fox.
He's signaling Orange County's new potential site for a waste transfer station. Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy suggested the site May 14 and it became a formal consideration after the June 16 Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting.
""This is just horrendous"" Kirschner said. It's way out of line. We've done enough for this community. They can put this somewhere else.""
The smell of the waste is not what will bother Kirschner. The waste transfer station would be an indoor facility which would process and temporarily store solid waste.
It's the noise. On top of I-40 and operations center traffic" nearly every waste collection vehicle in Orange County would travel to the station then larger vehicles would take the material away for disposal.
The easiest route to the potential waste transfer station is right on the small" country Millhouse Road in front of Kirschner's home.
""We all have private drives"" Kirschner said. This would just be one more thing that would create traffic.""
The potential waste transfer station is still many stages away from being passed. For the station to be built" the Chapel Hill Town Council would have to offer up the Millhouse Road land to Orange County at their September meeting. At that time" the Orange County Board of Commissioners would vote on whether or not to use the land.
""Not only were we not on the list" we were put number one on the list without any input at all" Kirschner said.
He will not be allowed to have input on the Chapel Hill Town Council's decision to give the land to Orange County since he lives outside Chapel Hill.
As county residents, none of Kirschner's neighbors will be able to have input either.
We have no say in this issue"" he said. Just because it's the expedient thing to do does not mean it's kosher.""
Chapel Hill town council member Mark Kleinschmidt said although the space has some attractive aspects — especially that it is already owned by the town — he thinks it is inappropriate to put the waste transfer station there.
Foy did not respond in time for print to messages left at his office.
""My concern is that the mayor's proposal that he made without the backing of his council at the very last minute caught the community off guard and undermined all of the work that the county commissioners have done to make this a transparent and open process"" Orange County commissioner Mike Nelson said.
Even if the waste transfer station is approved for Millhouse Road, Kirschner said he will not leave his home of 37 years.
I know every board and every nail and every mistake there is out here"" he said. This literally is in our backyard.""
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