A proposal to allow the county landfill to eventually rise as high as a 38-story building generated a lot of discussion during a public hearing before the County Commission Tuesday.
The proposal involved allowing the landfill to expand as high as 480 feet above sea level, which is higher than any natural feature in Florida.
According to engineers hired to support the proposal, the project would be somewhat lower than the eventual height of some of the phosphate waste piles in the Bartow-Mulberry area and would provide capacity for garbage for the next 100 to 150 years.
Ana Wood, Polk’s director of waste and recycling, said one impetus for the request was a population projection that would put Polk’s population at 1 million in the near future, adding the extra capacity would also give Polk space to dispose of waste if there were another natural disaster such as serious hurricane.
Commissioner Martha Santiago asked whether that increased capacity might attract trash from adjacent counties. Wood said that would be up to commissioners.
Commissioner Bill Braswelll argued the plan allows for good planning, but there may be alternatives in the future, though he didn’t name any.
Commissioner George Lindsey, the lone dissenter in the vote, questioned whether having a trash pile that high is appropriate to be located along the Polk Parkway, one of the gateways to the county.
The other gateways to Polk County along Interstate 4 are dominated by a heavy equipment auction yard and an industrial park.