The City Council has passed a resolution objecting to a county proposal to pile trash in the county's Prima Deshecha Landfill 80 feet above a ridgeline.
Council members contend that residents north of the landfill would be forced to look at a 4,500-foot-long plateau of rubbish as it rises over several years.
The county proposal includes increasing the landfill's capacity to 103 million cubic yards from 81 million cubic yards.
The council voted Tuesday to forward its objections about a draft environmental report on the plan. The city is also concerned that the report doesn't adequately deal with increased truck traffic and noise on Ortega Highway, the only main road to the landfill.
More than three dozen residents attended the council meeting Tuesday night, and many of them clutched information flyers printed by the city. The flyers contain a sample letter that people are encouraged to write to county officials.
The County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the landfill plan as early as December.
"Don't let this go down the road before it's too late and it gets rammed down our throats," Councilman Gil Jones urged the audience.
Jones said he is concerned that the landfill could become a home for garbage from areas other than South County.
Councilman Jeff Vasquez said he is less worried about the proposal to increase the landfill's capacity, calling it an inevitable part of growth. However, he did not oppose the resolution, which was approved 5 to 0.
The landfill, south of Ortega Highway and east of Interstate 5, has been in use since 1976, handling municipal solid waste from South County cities.
About a third of the 1,530-acre landfill is in San Juan Capistrano, while a small portion--133 acres--is in San Clemente, with the remaining acreage on unincorporated county land.