(Dothan, AL)--Dothan city officials now have the right to manage the city's land-fill without zoning approval. A Houston County judge made the ruling Tuesday, however the decision is not going over well with people living nearby.
"We respect the judge, but we're also very disappointed ," Dothan resident, Billy Lewis said. "This is not only an issue for our neighborhood but for the rest of Dothan."
In December, the city's zoning authority denied the board's request to grant a special exception for expanding the current landfill. The request was denied because several residents living in the area said they were worried about landfill health related issues.
The city was able to repeal that decision by proving landfills are a governmental function that is necessary for residents.
"I've had my well water tested and it is contaminated," Lewis said. "While some people are on city water, many of us still rely on our wells," he said.
Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz understands resident's concerns, he also said the city has limited options.
"We don't have a choice, solid waste is building up," Schmitz said. "The land-fill is filling, so we have to do something."
The city now has 90 days to come up with a solution, but Lewis says he's not done on the legal end of the land-fill issue.
"I think it's past time the City of Dothan gets out of the land-fill business and turns this over to someone who's an expert." he said. "We will deal with the issue that the current and previous landfills are imposing on water safety, air quality and the effects it could have in the future."
Dothan City officials are looking at expanding the current site or transporting waste to another landfill.