Thursday, November 15, 2001

Warren Co. loses zoning battle with landfill firm

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The Warren County commissioners will meet today to discuss their next move after losing a court battle to keep a landfill from reopening in Union Township.

        The commissioners' refusal to rezone 132 acres next to the closed Bigfoot for a new landfill site in 1998 was “unreasonable, arbitrary and unconstitutional,” Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders ruled Tuesday. Testimony in the case ended in September.

        The judge agreed with Allied Waste Industries' contention that the land could not profitably be used for housing.

        “The (county's) proposal to develop the subject parcels into a residential subdivision is completely unrealistic,” he ruled.

        A landfill, on the other hand, would be a reasonable use of the land, Judge Fedders said — although it's not necessarily the only reasonable use.

        He ordered the commissioners to rezone the land within 60 days.

        First, Commissioner Pat South said, they will discuss their options in a closed-door meeting with their attorney.

        “Bottom line, I'm just sorely disappointed in the decision,” she said.

        The commissioners could appeal it or they could rezone the land, either for a landfill or for some other use, such as commercial or industrial — which could start the court process over again.

        Browning-Ferris Industries Inc., which has since been purchased by Allied, sought the landfill zoning shortly before Bigfoot closed in mid-1999.

        The commissioner's decision left Warren County without a landfill.

        Most of the 160,000 or so tons of trash produced each year is now hauled to Rumpke's landfill in Hamilton County, according to Warren County officials.


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