Lawyer withdraws stump-dump case from hearing

Appeals board turmoil, full docket cited

April 13, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

An attorney for a farmer running an illegal stump dump in Clarksville has withdrawn the case from the Howard County Board of Appeals.

The board was scheduled to open a public hearing Thursday night on Alfred E. Bassler's request for a special exception to legally use 68.7 acres of his 430-acre farm to run a yard-waste composting facility, sawmill and mulch manufacturing operation.

The area's zoning prohibits a stump dump.

Attorney Thomas E. Lloyd of Ellicott City said he withdrew from the hearing because of recent publicity surrounding the abrupt resignation of board member Donald Messenger and a full docket of cases.

"The repeated press reports of turmoil in the board include reports of attempts to remove members, of forced resignations, advertising for new members, and a long and growing backlog of cases leave me with the unavoidable conclusion that we most likely will be presenting our case to a bare quorum of the Board," Lloyd wrote in a two-page letter dated Thursday.

"We recognize that anything which happens in our neighborhood is the concern of all of our neighbors, and we believe that both they and we are entitled to have this case heard by a full board."

Messenger, whose last day on the board is June 1, has said he will not attend any hearings, leaving the five-member board with four members to review a case.

Although Lloyd can still obtain the special exception for the stump dump if three board members grant his client's request, it appeared he was positioning himself for better odds.

Attorney David A. Carney, who represents Clarksville residents Robert and Karin Van Dyke, who oppose the dump, said his clients are disappointed by the delay.

"The neighbors don't want to see the function that's been ongoing for the past several years continuing," Carney said, noting that the dump has been operating for 12 years.

"They want it brought to a resolution."

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