By Devin Fehely

MILPITAS (KPIX 5) — Protesters gathered Sunday at the Newby Island Landfill on the San Jose-Milpitas border.

“The smell is just noxious,” landfill opponent Willie Frieson said.

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Frieson says he’s lived nearby for nearly 40 years, and has seen the landfill grow, along with the overpowering odor that emanates from it.

“San Jose wants to expand this landfill. That’s not good. That’s good for our property values or for our kids,” Frieson said.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the landfill Sunday morning to protest plans to expand it beyond its current size and capacity.

“When the wind blows from the direction of the landfill, the smell is really, really bad. When the wind is blowing in the other direction, we have much cleaner air,” landfill opponent Yu Zheng said.

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But, not everyone agrees that the landfill should shut down…

Jackie Salas, a former employee says neighbors knew the risk when they moved into the neighborhood.

“This has been here forever. It’s not the business’ fault that they’ve opted to build closer to the landfill. It’s just one of those things,” Salas said.

A spokesperson for Republic Services, which operates the landfill, says they have listened to the community’s concerns, but “ultimately, the landfill is a vital asset for the Bay Area, and its expansion will enable our community to address their needs for environmental services in the future.”

The Milpitas City Council has voted to end its contract with the landfill in November:

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Measure l will give the rest of the city’s voters an opportunity to decide if they concur.