BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Ohio — Brooklyn Heights residents and village leaders are telling the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the state of Ohio that they have enough landfills in their small community of just 620 homes.
Brooklyn Heights Mayor Mike Procuk told News 5 he's extremely concerned about an application for a new landfill on Valley Belt Road submitted by Kurtz Bros. Inc. of Independence.
Procuk is worried yet another landfill will further stress the environment for his 1500 residents and create more noise, dust and truck traffic.
”There’s one closed facility behind me, and there are four operating now. We don’t need anymore, we’ve done our fair share," Procuk said. “These dumps go until they can reach the sky—there’s no start date with an end date, it’s just as long as they can pile the stuff up.”
He continued, "They run down the property value of the parcel next to them, buy it and the state of Ohio law says they can expand without any public hearing, without any permission on contiguously owned properties.”
Procuk said there needs to be a change in Ohio law that would give municipalities and residents more input on whether new landfills are approved by county heath departments and the state.
Sylvia Christian, a 33-year Brooklyn Heights resident, agreed homeowners need to have a bigger voice in the approval process.
"We’re the ones that live here, speak to us, let us have a say," Christian said. “This our life we’re talking about, this is our health we’re talking about, this is our children we're talking about.”
Krutz Bros. Inc. responded quickly to our story and said it has already started the process of giving residents a chance to have input into the landfill proposal. The company hosted a Zoom community meeting on June 28, and said it's working with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to set up a second meeting in Brooklyn Heights in July.
Kurtz Bros. told News 5 it's always worked hard to stay in compliance with all Ohio EPA regulations, and submitted a highly detailed plan to the board of health on how it will control all environmental impact at the proposed new facility.
The company told News 5 its ongoing recycling operation has already kept more than 8 million tons of waste out of local landfills.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said it's not clear if it will approve the project at its upcoming July 28 meeting, and is accepting public input in the form of signatures on petitions from residents through July 8.
State Senator Nickie Antonio (D-District 23) told News 5 she's looking at the current state law to determine if there are ways to give cities and residents more clout in the landfill approval process.
Meanwhile, Procuk had a message for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
"Hopefully deny the permit, end this madness, and not open another new one, we already have four of them going," Procuk said. "Deny this permit, enough is enough.”