Greenhouse Road Landfill expansion application forwarded to contested case hearing

(Designed by Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Designed by Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Designed by Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper)

Residents’ concerns about a Katy-area landfill will be heard in a legal proceeding.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality commissioners voted 3-0 at the March 4 regular meeting to grant Harris County and nine individuals their requests for a contested case hearing regarding Greenhouse Road Landfill’s permit application to expand the landfill—located at 3510 Greenhouse Road, Houston—by 32 acres and increase the landfill’s height by 20 feet.

A contested case hearing is a legal proceeding conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings to review the permit application and hear arguments for and against the expansion, according to the TCEQ. A date for the Greenhouse Road Landfill contested case hearing was not discussed at the March 4 meeting. However, the commissioners' motion—read by Commissioner Bobby Janecka—stated the maximum duration of the hearing is 180 days from the preliminary hearing to the issuance of the proposal for decision.

After the contested case hearing, the SOAH will recommend denying, approving or modifying the permit to expand, but the TCEQ commissioners do not have to follow the suggestion when they take up the permit again during a regular meeting.

At the March 4 meeting, the commissioners also approved the issues that will be discussed at the contested care hearing. To be considered, issues must be raised in a timely manner by an affected person and be within the TCEQ’s jurisdiction, TCEQ Chair Jon Niermann said.


“So for example, we cannot consider economic impacts such as effects on property values, or determine compliance with third-party agreements,” he said. "Noise is not within our jurisdiction on this type of application. ... That said, there are numerous issues that are relevant, and material and that should be referred [to the SOAH for a contested case hearing].”

Since Greenhouse Road Landfill LP, an affiliate of G.O. Weiss Inc., applied for a permit amendment in November 2016 to expand, many residents, business owners, officials and organizations have expressed opposition. They cited drainage, health and property value concerns among nearly 600 comments submitted to the TCEQ regarding the expansion project.

The approved issues for the contested case hearing included whether Greenhouse Landfill’s expansion plan:

  • is compatible with surrounding land use;

  • is protective of the health and welfare of the affected persons;

  • has adequate measures to control surface water flow, drainage, dust and wind-blown waste;

  • has adequate measures to prevent nuisance odors and to control vectors, such as vermin;

  • has adequate measures to clean out public access roads and rights of way;

  • has adequate measures to maintain the landfill cover, which is a layer of material laid on top of waste;

  • meets applicable rules for collecting contaminated liquids and monitoring groundwater;

  • provides the required traffic data and documentation;

  • has adequate measures to detect and prevent the acceptance of unauthorized waste;

  • has adequate measures to address personnel training requirements;

  • addresses flooding and floodplain requirements adequately;

  • complies with buffer zone requirements;

  • complies with the applicable notice requirement; and

  • provides required information on all known water wells within 500 feet of the proposed permit boundary.


The contested case hearing will also determine whether the applicant's compliance history warrants denying or altering the terms of the draft permit.

At the March 4 meeting, the commissioners also denied requests for a reconsideration of the Sept. 20 TCEQ executive director’s decision that stated the landfill’s permit application to expand met the requirements of applicable law. Niermann explained the contested case hearing would be a more appropriate setting for residents’ concerns about the landfill.
By Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Jen has written about business, politics and education. Prior to CI, Jen was the web producer at Houston Business Journal.


MOST RECENT

Total cases have risen to 13,268 in Harris County, 7,812 of which are considered active while 5,215 are confirmed to have recovered. A total of 241 people are confirmed to have died from the coronavirus in the county.(Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 241 new cases, 5 deaths confirmed June 3

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 45% of new cases statewide between May 26 and June 2 can be tied to prisons, jails, meat packing plants or nursing homes.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Katy-area readers. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
June 3 data: Katy-area confirmed COVID-19 daily cases grow by 11

Since May 21, when Harris County began reporting active cases, recoveries and deaths at the ZIP code level, the number of recoveries has increased a daily amount between three and 17.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Phase 3 of his Open Texas plan June 3. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott's June 3 guidelines allow most Texas businesses to operate at 50% capacity

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to lift coronavirus-related business restrictions.

About 60,000 people gathered in downtown Houston at a June 2 march to to honor George Floyd. The June 4 Katy for Black Lives Matter Protest event organizers said they expect about 1,000 demonstrators for their march. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)
Katy for Black Lives Matter Protest organizers: ‘We wanted to extend our empathy’

Three Katy ISD students have coordinated a June 4 demonstration to show their support for the Black Lives Matter social movement.

Participants held fists in the air during a moment of silence at a June 2 protest over the death of George Floyd. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Criminal justice research expert weighs in on George Floyd protests and the sentiments driving them

"I think the data is clear and convincing that there is a problem. I think that we now have societal consensus of that problem and accepting that data."

Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: Volunteers needed now more than ever

The Houston Food Bank is distributing more than double the usual amount of food throughout the community.

Twenty cases in Fort Bend County were currently hospitalized according to data available on June 2 and June 3 on the Fort Bend County Community Impact Dashboard. The total confirmed cases was 1,916 on June 2 and 1,951 on June 3. (Designed by José Dennis/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Bend County official: Severity of COVID-19 is ‘affecting us less than it did in the beginning’

June 2 data shows 20 cases are hospitalized out of 1,916 confirmed positive coronavirus cases.

Franz Donuts makes doughnuts and kolaches from scratch, and it serves Columbian coffee. (Susan Rovegno/Community Impact Newspaper)
Katy area's Franz Donuts opens under new ownership in March

The cafe makes doughnuts and kolaches from scratch.

Across seven Katy-area ZIP codes, the total number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic increased to 1,084 on June 2. (Courtesy Flourish)
June 2 Katy-area COVID-19 daily case numbers increase by 40

The number of active cases in Katy-area ZIP codes in Harris County increased from 332 on June 1 to 358 on June 2, a daily increase of 26.

(Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
PHOTOS: Scenes from the downtown Houston march for George Floyd

People of all ages, colors and creeds packed downtown Houston June 2 to march in memory of former Houston resident George Floyd.

As protests over the death of George Floyd continue, the Harris County Public Health Department released a statement asking people to take precautionary measures if they plan to attend a protest. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: County tops 350 new cases for second straight day

As protests over the death of George Floyd continue, the Harris County Public Health Department released a statement asking people to take precautionary measures if they plan to attend a protest.

Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper
60,000 gather in downtown Houston June 2 in solidarity with George Floyd's family

Among a series of marches across the U.S. to honor George Floyd, his hometown of Houston turned out in the thousands June 2.