Board of Appeals erred in approval of Halle landfill, Circuit judge rules

September 01, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday that the county Board of Appeals overstepped its authority in granting Halle Cos. permission to build a controversial 150-acre landfill near Crofton and revoked the approval.

Residents in Crofton, who have been fighting the proposed landfill for years, expressed relief and satisfaction with Judge Martin A. Wolff's ruling.

"I'm not surprised, but I do feel a great deal of satisfaction right now," said Ed Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association.

Officials from the Silver Spring-based company did not return several phone calls yesterday.

The developer's plan to build a rubble landfill at Routes 3 and 424 had been denied by a county administrative hearing officer in March 1991, after residents complained about the project's impact on traffic and the environment.

The Board of Appeals approved the plan Dec. 23, 1993, after 17 hearings -- many that lasted more than three hours -- that together made it the longest set of hearings on a single appeal in the board's history. In its approval, the board agreed with the developer that it should use Conway Road for access to the landfill, widen the road and add shoulders to both sides.

But in his 12-page decision yesterday, Judge Martin J. Wolff Anne Arundel Circuit Court said the appeals board should never have considered the plan that it received from Halle in the first place because it was so drastically amended from the one considered by the administrative hearing offer.

Halle's original plans called for access from Patuxent Road. By proposing to use Conway Road as the access road, the developer had submitted a new plan that the board could not consider under county law, the judge wrote.

An appeals board cannot "indiscriminately entertain matters which in effect change the nature of the original controversy," Judge Wolff wrote.

The decision ends one of the longest and most hard-fought land use battles in western Anne Arundel County.

Residents were particularly concerned aboutthe intersection of Routes 3 and 424 -- which state traffic studies show already is dangerous -- where there could be an additional 300 trucks a day going to and from the rubble landfill.

Mr. Dosek said yesterday that the proposed site was along the Patuxent River, so he and other Crofton residents were concerned about damage to nearby wetlands, to ground water and to the Chesapeake Bay.

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