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Wedgewood Community residents upset over landfill rezoning
ESCAMBIA COUNTY The plan to build another trash pit near the Wedgewood neighborhood in Escambia County has many people who live there upset. In April, Escambia County Commissioners voted to rezone about 10 acres of land from urban residential to general commercial. The new landfill would be built off Kemp Road, but the proposal must have a public hearing in July before a final decision is made for a new landfill. There are a number of debris landfills around the Wedgewood community. In this one behind me, the smell, the noise and the amount of dust kicked up by dump trucks are just some of the problems residents are dealing with" Ronnie Shakir and his wife Wanda have lived in Wedgewood for the last seven years. Sitting on their porch is like a past-time for them. They say it'd even be more enjoyable if they didn't have a debris landfill as a neighbor. "Over here in Wedgewood, you get the odor, you get the dust, you get everything the other communities don't want" said Ronnie Shakir, Lives near landfill. Ronnie says the air from the landfill makes it hard to breathe. "I've been having health problems also as far as my breathing and everything, and speaking to my other neighbors they're having that same problem" said Ronnie Shakir, Lives near landfill. Wanda believes the dust from the landfill has come into their home. They've replaced their insulation twice. The complaints of residents like Ronnie and Wanda may have some merit. Earlier this month, Escambia County commissioners voted to delay a permit renewal for Longleaf Construction and Demolition Landfill after commissioners learned of violations issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Rolling Hills Construction and Demolition debris landfill was recently cited by Escambia Code Enforcement because of several operating violations including discharging dust and offensive odors into the air. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says last summer it approved a remedial action plan for the Rolling Hills landfill to address groundwater concerns. So far they say that hasn't been done. A similar remedial action plan is under review for the Longleaf landfill. Residents like Ronnie and Wanda are hopeful the county moves away from allowing landfills to operate around residential areas. "The landfills need to go, they need to shut down" said Wanda Shakir. On July 10th, a Public Hearing will be held about the permit to rezone 10 acres off Kemp Road. Until a decision is made at that Public Hearing, no landfill related work can take place at the Kemp Road property.