By REBECCA HAZEN
The Special Use Permit Board voted to grant a permit to NewTerra Compost LLC on Tuesday, March 2. The board voted 2-1, with one board member abstaining.
NewTerra Compost is a composting business located on a 20–acre property in Wildwood, owned by Michael Ryan and Normand Lavoie.
“The applicants made an outstanding presentation of the business that they have begun. It is a business that I think, and I think everyone agrees, it is something that is good for everybody,” board chair Allan Townsend said.
Townsend continued, “We had some folks come in that are surrounding property owners that are opposed to that business being where it is. Those surrounding property owners made arguments that have some weight to them.”
Townsend noted that the board is bound to observe certain standards and criteria which control how the board votes. Some of the standards are:
What is the existing land uses of subject property, nearby properties, and properties to be impacted by the industrial use; The suitability of the property for its current use; Whether the proposed industrial use will be suitable in view of the use and development of nearby and adjacent properties; Whether the proposed industrial use will be detrimental to the natural environment including water quality and resources, air quality and wildlife; Whether any negative effects can be mitigated by reasonable and appropriate conditions of approval; Whether it will reasonably be expected to have a detrimental impact to property values of nearby and adjacent properties; and What benefits and burdens will it have on Dade County and the regional economy.
“We have to be thoughtful of the people who are living around an operation like this,” Townsend said. “In my view, it needs to be in a place where industrial use goes on, and it’s not objectional in an impactful way to the people who own property around it … In view of those factors, my vote would be to deny the permit.”
Board members Rick Stephens and Chris Bradford voted in favor.
“I have been down there on two occasions. I have seen nothing that would want me to deny this permit,” Stephens said.
“We don’t have zoning in this county. Sure, we don’t want certain things in our face, but guess what, we don’t have much choice,” Bradford said.
Board member Robert Ryan abstained from the vote because he is related to owner Michael Ryan.
Townsend asked if it was possible to make the approval conditional. If the industrial use extends by three acres, the board would have to come back and revisit the permitting. It was determined that the proposed condition was not necessary, because there is already a provision for growth.
“We are happy we have an opportunity to be good neighbors and compost in Dade County,” Normand Lavoie said.