Wicomico Pulls Back On Plans To Grow Landfill

SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County will not move forward with plans to purchase land for the expansion of an adjacent landfill.

This week, County Executive Bob Culver confirmed he has withdrawn his request to purchase 69 acres of land adjacent to the Newland Park Landfill on Brick Kiln Road. He said members of the Wicomico County Council wanted to place restrictions on the property that would prevent any future landfill development.

“The council decided that they wanted covenants put on the deed to not turn it into a landfill and that can’t be done,” he said.

In October, several residents on the west side of Salisbury came before the Wicomico County Council to oppose plans for the expansion of the county landfill. In response, the council presented a resolution to purchase the land with the stipulation that the property would only be used as a borrow pit to mine soil for the current landfill.

And while nearby residents supported the deviation from the county’s original plans, they argued the resolution would not prevent future leaders from using the property as a landfill in the coming years.

The council ultimately agreed to table the land acquisition until Nov. 20 to give time for attorneys to consider the legality of placing restrictions on the property. In a meeting of the Wicomico County Council last week, however, Council Administrator Laura Hurley announced Culver had intended to withdraw his request to purchase the land.

In an interview this week, Culver said using the land as a borrow pit would not address capacity needs at the landfill, which he said will remain viable for another 22 years.

“In the last five years, Wicomico County has picked up 3,000 new people,” he said. “If the population continues to grow, it could cut down the landfill to less than 20 years.”

Culver said if the county does not find a solution to its waste management needs, it could be forced to pay more to ship trash elsewhere.

“I think we are being shortsighted,” he said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.