Lakeland neighbors push back against county's plan to build waste water plant in backyard

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 17:43:13-04

Some Lakeland neighbors are pushing back against the county’s plan to build a wastewater treatment plant in their backyard.

The project is set for a 12-acre site off Tom Costine Road in North Lakeland. The site is surrounded by expensive homes and at least three neighborhoods.

“Their hearts are breaking. This is tearing them up,” said Debra Gill, who lives nearby and is leading the neighborhood push to get the county to rethink its plans.

On Tuesday, commissioners approved the first step of building the plant by a 4-1 vote, despite pleas from more than 40 residents in the area.

“They are pretty much telling people that your home, the biggest investment in your life is not important to us,” Gill said.

County staff insist wouldn’t be the eyesore that people envision because there would be a large buffer using trees and shrubbery.

Commissioner Melony Bell was the lone no vote on Tuesday.

“It’s going to disturb their country living,” she said.

She feels the the county should re-think th location and not to mention the policy of only letting people know within 500 feet of the plant.

“I think they feel that we were being sneaky about it since they weren’t notified,” she said.

The county said it did invite people to a meeting a year ago when it purchased the land and at that time received very little pushback.

That’s not the case now. More than 200 people have signed a petition begging the county to rethink the location.

“This was going to be their home and they just take that all away like it’s nothing,” Gill said of her neighbors.