CICERO, Ind. (WISH) — Residents in and around a northern Hamilton County town are worried about a proposal to build a solid-waste transfer station on U.S. 31 between 226th and 236th streets.

The site is 4.5 miles west of Cicero, a town of about 5,000 on Morse Reservoir. The Cicero/Jackson Township Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to take the proposal up again at 7 p.m. July 18.

Local resident Mike Scherer is worried about the smell and traffic the trash station would create. “When you have a tourist community, right — we have a beautiful reservoir, amazing recreation, boats, all these things — and they’re planning on putting a waste transfer station with all these trucks coming from Noblesville and Westfield.”

Ace Paving, a Westfield company, is asking for a zoning variance to convert what is now a metal scrap yard into the trash transfer station.

Brian Moench of Moench Engineering, of Plainfield, is representing ACE Paving. He says workers would sort through trash at the facility, picking through the recyclables and sending the rest to landfills.

“IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) has very strict requirements about what is being handled in these facilities. Liquid waste, biohazard, biomedical waste, medical waste, hazardous waste are strictly prohibited,” Moench said.

The trash would be coming from homes and businesses in Hamilton County, which had an estimated population of more than 371,600 in 2023. Each trash load would be in the transfer station for no longer than 24 hours.

“This facility is fully enclosed, so as the collection trucks come in and want to unload their refuse, it’s on an 8- to 10-inch concrete slab with sealed joints,” Moench said.

A self-contained plumbing system will prevent waste from leaching into the watershed.

Indiana Department of Transportation is addressing the traffic issues that could arise from more trucks on the road.

Moensch said, “There is a new frontage road being constructed. That frontage road is being constructed to the standards of heavy truck traffic.”

Kelei Baker Leak said the Cicero town government invited only a handful of residents to its last hearing about the proposal. She thinks more time is needed for discussion, especially for a project that could alter the landscape.

“What wants to snuggle up to a waste transfer station? Not many businesses want to build by that, for the noise, for the excess traffic, for the smell,” she said.