Friday, April 30, 1999

No deal, foes of Warren Co. landfill say

Rumors swirl about settling Bigfoot lawsuit

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MORROW — Landfill opponents said Thursday they will continue to fight against additional dumps in Warren County regardless of any offers that might be made to appease them.

        More than 70 anti-landfill activists met at the Valley Vineyards restaurant — near the Bigfoot Run landfill — for a briefing with officials of the Morrow Environmental Preservation Association (MEPA).

        “There are a lot of rumors flying around right now” over proposed expansion of the waste site, MEPA attorney John Phillips told landfill opponents.

        “I don't think you should give up,” Mr. Phillips told the crowd.

        Browning-Ferris Industries of Ohio Inc. (BFI), operators of Bigfoot Run, contend no out-of-court settlement has been offered and none is forthcoming.

        But MEPA members and residents loudly rejected even the prospect of a deal.

        “BFI wants to cut a deal — a rotten deal,” said Bill Brausch, a resident of Trovillo Road, which runs along the northern border of the Union Township waste site.

        “It is not a financial issue. It's a moral issue and a matter of principle.”

        BFI operates the only land fill in Warren County at Bigfoot Run, but that site is near capacity and will close May 11.

        Only a small percentage of Bigfoot Run waste comes from Warren County. The vast majority is shipped in by BFI, a private waste disposal company, from around the Tristate.

        Private contractors who already serve the vast majority of Warren County's residents and businesses have said they can accommodate the disposal needs after Bigfoot Run closes.

        After BFI's rezoning appli cation for expanding the Bigfoot Run waste site was rejected in December by Warren County commissioners, the company filed a lawsuit against the commissioners alleging its application was not treated fairly.

        The lawsuit is pending. Mr. Phillips said it probably would be a year before a ruling is issued.

        BFI also is pursuing a plan to build a landfill on part of the site that was formerly the Alpine Ski resort in Morrow.

        In 1997, Morrow Village Council passed an ordinance rejecting the zoning application.

        That action was unfair, BFI officials said, which led to a lawsuit against Morrow officials.

        The village ordinance later was rejected in a decision rendered in 1998 by Judge P. Daniel Fedders of Warren County Common Pleas Court.

        This year, Morrow council members voted to forward BFI's rezoning application to the planning commission.


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