Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Greensboro's Other Landfills: Part 5

The City of Greensboro, Guilford County and North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources haven't been very talkative of late concerning Greensboro's Illegal Landfills. I think getting flushed down their own loophole in Part 4 really took its toll on all of them. Imagine being in the business of regulating landfills and not knowing that the State removed the loophole 7 years ago? That's what happened to NC DENR and Guilford County as they scrambled to do political favors for the City of Greensboro.

Are they really just covering for a $40,000 a year truck supervisor? Now the question becomes: are State and County regulators considered accessories after the fact? I'll let you, Dear Readers, decide for yourselves. If any of these agencies would send me a statement I would gladly post it. Sadly, they've all stopped communicating with me.

I've gotten no reply from Jim Westmoreland, David Parrish or anyone else on my request to sit in on a  Employees--Managers meeting. I'm thinking they're scared I'll learn more and make more contacts than I already have. Next think you know they'll be having their offices swept for bugs.

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014 I made mention of another illegal landfill, this one located in a residential neighborhood at 513 Brae Burn Lane inside the Greensboro City Limits. I learned that this landfill was owned by Francis (Frank) R. Lato and Lato Holdings, a Greensboro real estate development company which operates out of Mr Lato's home across the street from the landfill. And I learned from reading their e-mails that despite the fact that the Greensboro City Council knew all about this landfill it continued to operate seemingly legally. Or was it?

On June 25 I submitted a public information request to the City of Greensboro asking what had been done about the Lato Holdings landfill, if anything had been done and how it had been done? On Jun 26 (5 days ago) I received the following reply:

"Your public information request for documents related to Records relating to Greensboro Landfill have been referred to the proper department for response. Thank you for your request.

If you have any questions, please call 373-CITY (2489) or at the above email address and reference request number 3605."

According to the City of Greensboro's new PIRT tracking system, "Staff compiling information." as of July 1, 2014.

As an aside: To test the City's new PIRT tracking system I entered a PIRT request for Sarah's Birthday (PIRT #3625) and it came up automatically almost as quickly as I entered it. I don't think that's something the City is actually allowed to release but like I said it is just a test.

I don't know why closing the Lato Holdings landfill would be a problem. After all Greensboro is located in Guilford County and according to Guilford County Chapter 15.5 - SOLID WASTE:

"Sec. 15.5-1. - Definitions
Promiscuous dump means a solid waste disposal site which is not a permitted landfill.

Sec. 15.5-2. - Public nuisance
(1) A promiscuous dump of any kind, including, but not limited to:
a.An open place of concentration of combustible items such as mattresses, boxes, paper, tires, garbage, trash, refuse, yard debris, old clothes, rags or any other combustible material or objects of like kind;
(3) The dumping, placing or other disposal of solid waste, trash, garbage, refuse, land-clearing debris, demolition debris, yard trash, scrap tires or white goods upon the land, unless such land is a licensed and permitted disposal facility. "

Looks to me like it should be pretty easy to close down the Lato Holdings landfill unless, of course, Guilford County had previously issued a landfill permit. But would a permit in a residential neighborhood be valid considering City and County zoning regulations against the operation of light and heavy industrial uses in residential zones? Somehow I don't think so. I'm betting no such permit was ever issued and therefore Lato Holdings' landfill just like Simmons Hauling landfill were both illegal from day 1.

No word yet on if the Lato Holdings landfill has been shuttered yet but as you can see its very existence violated the very same rules Danny Simmons violated in operating his landfill but no one from the City of Greensboro is talking or Guilford County is about inert debris or "Beneficial Fill" as a loophole and I have their e-mails to prove it: PIRT #3471.

So what was being dumped at Francis Lato's landfill? Word is, wood chips but again, like Danny's landfill it was unattended so anything could be in the bottom of the hole.

In Greensboro's Illegal Landfills: Part 6 I'll make available some very troubling e-mails.