Webster residents sue to block rubble fill plan

November 29, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

In the latest legal attempt to block Maryland Reclamation Associates Inc.'s planned rubble fill on Gravel Hill Road, six Webster-area residents have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a 1989 County Council vote.

At issue is whether the rubble fill site is legally included in the county's 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan, a state-required document that explains where waste generated within the county will be deposited.

In the suit, filed this month, the residents ask the Harford Circuit Court to invalidate a 1989 County Council vote that put the Maryland Reclamation site into the waste disposal plan.

Churchville-based Maryland Reclamation had filed suit against the council in 1990 after a newly elected council voted to remove the site from the waste disposal plan, reversing the 1989 council's vote.

Harford Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals have since ruled the newly elected council shouldn't have done that.

And earlier this month, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied the council's effort to appeal the case on its own, and let lower court rulings stand. That means that, legally, the rubble fill site is still part of the solid waste disposal plan.

George W. Blake, Curtis Erby, Herman Hague, Bernice Perkins, Charles Holmes and Marie Bond filed the latest lawsuit. They claim the council did not use proper procedure in amending the solid waste management plan to include the Gravel Hill Road site. They have asked a judge to overturn the original council vote.

The residents, whose properties adjoin or abut the proposed rubble fill site, also claim the project could endanger their private wells. In addition, the six are seeking reimbursement for legal fees incurred since they began fighting the proposal in 1989.

Controversy over the landfill proposal contributed to the 1989 defeat of then-Del. William H. Cox Jr. -- among the guarantors of the loan Maryland Reclamation used to buy the site -- and four council members.

In the past three years, Maryland Reclamation has received a state operating permit for a fill that would accept construction debris, asbestos and other rubble.

But the company cannot use its state permit because it is still battling the county administration and the council in other related court cases. The cases center on whether zoning regulations enacted in 1991 -- midway through the state's review of the company's permit application -- should apply to its proposed operation.

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