Rubble Firm Dumps Suit On County Over New Law

June 23, 1991|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Maryland Reclamation Associates Inc. has sued Harford County and theCounty Council over the "Machiavellian tactics" used to prevent the company from developing an asbestos and rubble dump near Havre de Grace.

The company filed suit Thursday in Harford Circuit Court challenging a new county law that the firm says was adopted to disrupt itsefforts to get a state permit for the dump, proposed for a 68-acre site on Gravel Hill Road.

H. Edward Andrews III, the County Council's attorney, called Maryland Reclamation's allegations in the suit "offensive and scandalous.

"The bill in question was passed because (the council) felt it was in the best interest of the county," Andrews said.

The law at issue was approved by the council on March 19. It requires sites for rubble landfills to be located on tracts that are at least 100 acres insize and at least 1,000 feet away from the nearest building.

The Churchville-based company contends that the council passed the bill knowing that the project could not meet either standard, according to the 23-page suit.

The council on June 11 adopted a resolution removing the Gravel Hill site from the county's solid waste management plan because it no longer met the standards for rubble fills.

Meanwhile, the state Department of the Environment is studying the new law and the council resolution to determine whether it will stop reviewing Maryland Reclamation's permit application for the site.

"The defendants' course of conduct directed at Maryland Reclamation has consisted of a series of planned illegal actions . . . designed to thwart the permitting process for rubble fills established by state law and regulation," the company said in the suit.

"Moreover, (the counciland county) realize their demagoguery and pandering to groundless public fears will become apparent if the Gravel Hill site is approved by the state as an appropriate and safe location for a rubble fill," the suit said.

In the suit, Maryland Reclamation is asking the court to overturn the county law setting the size and distance standards for rubble fill.

If the county law is upheld, Maryland Reclamationwants its proposed rubble fill "grandfathered" into the requirementsbecause the company already holds a state permit to operate a rubblefill on a portion of the Gravel Hill site.

In addition to the suit, Maryland Reclamation is seeking a variance to the rubble fill law from the county Board of Zoning Appeals, which the seven-member County Council acts as.

But because the council has already taken the rubble fill out of the county's waste management plan, Maryland Reclamation contends in the suit that it will not get a fair hearing from the appeals board.

Meanwhile, Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill on Friday declined to rule on an immediate injunction requested by Maryland Reclamation to prevent the county from enforcing the rubble fill law.

Whitfill said it would be premature to rule on the emergency injunction until the state decides whether to stop reviewing the rubble fill plans.

The suit, filed by Maryland Reclamation's team of five attorneys from two law firms, marks the second time the company has sued the council over the fill.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.