PALMER — An Anchorage company's bid to put a contentious debris dump near Palmer appears to be over.
Central Monofill Services Inc. on Friday told the Matanuska-Susitna Borough it was withdrawing an application for a conditional-use permit. The Anchorage company is one of three associated, separate companies; the other two perform general contracting, environmental services, demolition and recycling.
The contested permit was necessary before Central could proceed with plans to landfill shredded building and demolition debris, including asbestos, at a 120-acre former gravel pit at Mile 38 of the Glenn Highway near the Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area. The proposed debris dump was classified as an "inert monofill" and subject to few state regulations.
In a statement issued Monday, the company says it worked since 2013 to design a safe, environmentally sound project but "neighbor opposition to the monofill portion of the application has overshadowed the recycling benefits."
Now instead of pursuing a permit, Central Recycling Services will "explore other alternatives within the (Mat-Su) to reduce solid waste and expand recycling opportunities," the company wrote.
Critics have cited the potential for groundwater contamination as well as Central's track record in the Valley. Borough staffers cited the company for several trash-related violations in 2013 and recently accused the company of lying and trying to conceal illegal dumping.
But opponents of Central's plans weren't exactly cheering the news about the application withdrawal.
"I don't trust 'em," said Bill Quantick, who lives near the proposed dump site and points to the company's compliance and legal history with the borough.
Central has taken the borough to court and has also sued the Municipality of Anchorage over landfill pricing policies for construction and demolition waste.
Quantick on Monday disputed the company's claim to be in the business of recycling and said Central was just looking for "a place where they can dispose of their garbage at a low cost to them."
"If it's a sellable product, why isn't there a market for it? Why aren't they selling it?" he asked.
The Mat-Su borough planning commission was expected to make a decision on the application Monday night.
But Central in the company statement Monday afternoon said further efforts with the permit were "futile" because the commission denied a request to delay the hearing until the full commission could hear it and borough staff could review a revised plan that included a liner and leachate recovery system.
Central stated its facility in Mat-Su would have been the most "environmentally protective construction and demolition debris waste recycling" and monofill in Alaska, where regulations don't even require liners.
The commission could still discuss the issue even though the application was withdrawn, borough planners say.
Central's decision Friday coincided with an unsuccessful bid last week to get a judge to stop Monday night's hearing.