Cecil zoning board rejects rubble landfill on land owned in part by Md. senator

December 06, 1992|By Bruce Reid | Bruce Reid,Staff Writer

Bowing to intense opposition, a Cecil County zoning board has rejected a rubble landfill near Perryville on property owned in part by state Sen. Walter M. Baker and his son.

The Cecil Board of Zoning Appeals, in a 3-0 vote Wednesday, denied a special exception needed to build the rubble fill on a 225-acre parcel at Interstate 95 and Route 275.

Nearly 600 opponents attended a hearing last week on the project, and several hundred people attended a hearing Wednesday.

Cecil Recycling Center Inc., based in Port Deposit, has proposed a construction materials recycling center and rubble fill on land near Interstate 95 and Route 275 now being mined by Cecil Sand & Gravel.

The companies are separate but have some of the same shareholders. Both companies lease the site from Lojo Inc., whose shareholders include Senator Baker, D-Cecil; the senator's son, Stephen Baker; Leonard Lockhart; and Arthur D. Johnson Jr.

Several Harford County officials, including Councilman Barry T. Glassman, R-District D, urged Cecil officials last week to reject the proposal. Harford has had long-standing controversies over the operation of rubble fills, where construction and demolition debris is buried.

"There's no redeeming value to anyone but the owners," Perryville Mayor Oakley A. Sumpter Jr. said of the Cecil Recycling proposal. "It's not environmentally sound. It's not economically sound."

Alfred C. Wein, director of the Cecil Office of Planning and Zoning, said the zoning board members recognized citizens' concerns about potential pollution of Mill Creek, traffic concerns and harm to economic development near the proposed rubble (( fill.

Once a written opinion is prepared by the zoning board by the end of this month, Mr. Wein said, Cecil Recycling has 30 days to appeal.

Michael E. Leaf, an attorney for Cecil Recycling, said no decision had been made about whether to appeal the zoning board's decision to the county Circuit Court.

Mr. Leaf argued that the rubble fill would save space in the county landfill and help the county meet a state recycling mandate.

But opponents argued that the risks of environmental or economic harm outweighed any benefits.

Mr. Sumpter said Mill Creek, which flows near the rubble fill site, is a reserve drinking-water source for the town of Perryville. Town officials opposed the rubble fill project in a joint resolution with officials from the town of Port Deposit.

Both towns and the county advocate residential and light industrial development of the old Bainbridge Naval Training Center, next to the proposed landfill site.

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