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City of Poulsbo says new transfer station could save money

POULSBO — A solid waste transfer station planned for Viking Way could help Poulsbo garbage trucks avoid costly trips to Belfair.

The city's four garbage trucks currently make trips to Belfair whenever they become full, which is almost daily, Poulsbo Public Works Director Barry Loveless said. A Poulsbo transfer station would allow trash to accumulate before being shipped south, reducing those trips by at least a third.

"The idea is to consolidate loads," Loveless said.

The city is moving forward with plans for the transfer station as part of a development on 4.8 acres at 22125 Viking Way. The city purchased the land in 2008, and will relocate much of its Public Works operations to the site, including its vehicle bay, which now sits at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Iverson Street near a city park and library.

The land was purchased for just over $1 million, and construction projects are expected to cost $6.7 million, Loveless said.

Funding for the transfer station will come from solid waste utility funds. Further site development, including a new vehicle bay, will require some funding from the city's general fund. That part of the project won't be done until money comes available, Loveless said.

Once the station is constructed the city will likely contract its remaining trips to Belfair, since it doesn't own the type of vehicle large enough to haul the larger load, Loveless said. From Belfair, trash is sent by rail to an Oregon landfill.

The owner of an adjacent land parcel has filed an appeal against the project, citing inadequate buffers, improper zoning and negative impacts from increased noise, odors and artificial light.

A pre-hearing order will likely be issued this week, and a hearing is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8, said Poulsbo Planning Director Barry Berezowsky. He added the upcoming hearing doesn't keep the city from going forward with site clearing and demolition of existing structures, which must be done before construction can begin.

Loveless said because it is so late in the construction season, most work will likely wait until next year.

A section of the land must be logged before construction can begin, and the city expects to make money from the timber, he said.

The City Council was divided on the purchase of the land in August 2008. Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist and then-councilwoman Becky Erickson, now Poulsbo's mayor, voted no on the issue, urging leaders to take a deeper look at the city's finances. A price tag on the new city hall had not been finalized at the time.

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