A Crofton rubble landfill, cited for exceeding capacity, will remainopen while the state and county review a plan to permanently close the site.
Roger Perkins, administrative hearing officer, postponed yesterday's hearing to allow Cunningham Excavation Inc. to explain why it exceeded the capacity set in its 1981 special zoning exception and state permits.
Assistant County Attorney Cheryl Boudreau, saying she had reachedan agreement with owner James Cunningham a week ago, requested an eight-week postponment while Cunningham seeks approval for a plan to permanently close the site.
The rubble landfill is adjacent to Crofton Raceway, which Cunningham also owns.
The county Department of Permits and Inspections, the Soil Conservation District and the state Department of the Environment must approve the plan, which includes existing elevations of the landfill's mounds and diagrams sediment controls, Boudreau said. Higher elevations reflect more rubble.
In the meantime, Perkins ruled that the owner can dump rubble where the landfill is not yet full.
Residents, saying that Cunningham had violated the law and
the community's trust, objected that the landfill wasn't closed.
Lina Vlavianos, a Millersville resident, and Jack Meyer, a representative of both the Greater Odenton Improvement Association and the neighboring Four Season Community Association, complainedthat Cunningham's plan allows the landfill to remain over capacity, saying that it rewards him for violating his special exception.
"What's the county getting out of the higher elevations?" asked Vlavianos, an environmental activist. "The citizens have every right to demand compensation to the county (for the additional rubble buried there). Compensation for the additional trucks tearing up our roads, the dust, the trash, the noise."
Mike Roblyer, a lawyer representing Cunningham, agreed the landfill is over capacity.
"Everybody admits that the lifts are higher than they were supposed to be," Roblyer said. "They just kept putting too much rubble in."
But, Roblyer disputed the notion that Cunningham owed the county anything.
"It's hard to conceive anything that overfilling costs the county," Roblyer said.
"As long as there is an approved sediment control plan, what'sthe damage?"
County inspectors ordered Cunningham to shut down operations on most of his 30-acre site Nov. 30. Dumping continues on five acres inspectors said had not reached capacity.
The Cunningham site was the second ordered closed under emergency county legislationpassed last April that allows the Permits and Inspections Departmentto regulate rubble fills.
Previously, only the state Department of the Environment, which has four inspectors statewide, monitored rubble landfills.
The county ordered the Al/Ray Super Concrete RubbleLandfill in Lothian closed Nov. 16. Inspectors, who discovered medical wastes had been dumped there a day earlier, said it had also exceeded capacity.
Boudreau said Cunningham is different from the Al/Ray landfill, which is permitted to accept asbestos debris. "They (Cunningham) ran amok a little, but I feel confident they have good legitimate rubble fill," she said.
Residents have complained about the operation of the Cunningham landfill for years, receiving little response from the state, said Meyers.
"I don't blame Mr. Cunningham," Meyers said. "I blame the (state Department of the Environment) for allowing this go on."