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Commissioners Entertain Request From Adjacent Property Owner To Close/Move U.S. 221 Container Site

By Jesse Wood

June 18, 2013. At its Tuesday meeting, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners entertained a request asking the county to close and move the sanitation dump on U.S. 221.

Keith Ebert, who owns property adjacent to the site and across the street from the site, sent an email to County Manager Deron Geouque, who then put the matter on the commissioners’ meeting agenda.

“I believe it should be a candidate for closure for several reasons that I would like for you to consider,” Ebert wrote on May 28. “If closure is not possible, please consider moving to a better location.”

  • Site attracts vermin and bears
  • Site location not optimal as it is on a blind curve
  • Highway site is located on a designated scenic highway.
  • Sound of screeching tires, other related noise to the dump frequent

In a memo to the commissioners, Geouque wrote that this isn’t the first time Ebert has complained to the county, however his staff isn’t aware of anyone else who opposes the current location of the U.S. 221 dump. Geouque added that it would be “very difficult to relocate” and that the sanitation department has made several accommodations for Ebert.

“Currently, no recyclables are thrown into the dumpster until after 10 a.m. and the trash truck is not dispatched for pickup until 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. unless required sooner,” Geouque wrote. “These measures were developed by staff with the assistance of Mr. Ebert to reduce the noise level at the site.”

The site has been at that location since 2006, and Geouque noted that Ebert bought the land in 2011.

Currently, the county is in year seven of a 20-year lease of the property with George and Evalyn Sudderth. Since the lease has no termination clause, the county would be responsible for the remaining 13 years on the lease at a cost of $35,700.

“I appreciate him buying land in the county, but I am not willing to change the container site,” Chair Nathan Miller said, speaking of the remaining cost of the lease.

Commissioner David Blust said he agreed with Miller.

“I appreciate the fact that we have tried to work with him. Nathan’s right. We were here first, and it costs us money to break the lease,” Blust said, adding that there isn’t a location that would be more optimal than the current one. 

The commissioners unanimously agreed to not pursue closing or moving to the U.S. 221 location.