Said Garber: “You can’t make this decision assuming that these properties are never going to be developed as LM. You can’t assume they are going to remain undeveloped in perpetuity.”

Maxfield also argued that just because nothing has happened in the past, that doesn’t mean the land won’t be developed in the future. “I just don’t want to bank on the fact that nothing will happen.”

Germanoski and Ray said the future development of the land will remain uncertain if it remains LM, but the landfill definitely will expand if it becomes LI.

Donato predicted that area will change “whether we develop it or the warehouse district comes in. The natural resources will be changed. That’s progress. That’s what happens.”

Maxfield said uses allowed in light manufacturing zoning districts also can be damaging to the environment. “There are only a couple of things not allowed in LM that are allowed in LI. The rest of it’s the same.”

But Johnson said LI zoning districts allow other uses in addition to landfills – including concrete and asphalt plants, petroleum and hazardous substance storage, production of non-toxic and non-hazardous chemical products and waste transfer facilities. “Those are some pretty nasty uses too,” he said.

Yerger said mining and other heavy industry also are allowed in LI zoning.

Zoning issues are not within the EAC’s purview, Yerger reminded her colleagues.

“We are here to analyze this on an environmental basis.”