. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Eddy County residents stand in the walkway outside Commission Chambers this morning during a break in the county commission’s public hearing on the controversial solid waste and illegal dumping ordinance. The meeting was standing-room-only, with concerned citizens spilling into the hallways and stairwell outside the chamber. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

The residents of Eddy County made their voices heard this morning during the county commission’s consideration of a controversial proposed solid waste, nuisance and illegal dumping ordinance – and the commission listened.

During a three-and-a-half-hour hearing on O-18-92, around 60 residents of the county approached the commission to voice their concerns over an ordinance that would have, among other things, set limits on the amount of “junk vehicles” and “scrap metal” county citizens could have on their properties, established a new requirement for fencing around properties containing such items, and imposed stiff penalties upon those in violation.

Only one of the residents who addressed the commission this morning spoke in favor of the ordinance; the rest were overwhelmingly against, calling the proposal a violation of their constitutional property rights and pointing to the hardships that would be suffered were they required to alter their properties.

With Commissioner Jon Henry absent, the remaining lawmakers – Larry Wood, Stella Davis, James Walterscheid and Susan Crockett – let the ordinance die without a motion to vote; all indicated they would have voted “no” had a motion to do so been made.

Walterscheid said the standing-room-only crowd, which spilled out of the small chambers into the hallways, walkways and stairwell outside, was the largest he’d seen in his time as commissioner, and all board members expressed appreciation for the high level of public input.

Full details on the meeting will be published in Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Press.