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Justices find statute doesn't apply to landfill facility

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The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled on a 30-year fight between the owners of a proposed landfill and neighbors, ruling that a new law doesn’t apply to the facility or require it to get a new permit.

In Killbuck Concerned Citizens Association v. J.M. Corporation and Ralph Reed, No. 48S00-1003-PL-158, a group of Madison County residents, some who own land close to the proposed landfill of J.M. Corporation, appealed the approval of the landfill’s permit for construction. The Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals granted the zoning petition in 1981.

Over the years, JMC had been granted an operating permit by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, but because of an appeal by the citizens association, the issue went back before the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication. JMC and IDEM have met several times to attempt to finalize the operating permit, but their efforts failed and the matter was appealed again.

The appeal was resolved when the Office of Environmental Adjudication ruled in October 2004 that an operating permit had been issued to JMC in 1998 and IDEM improperly denied JMC’s permit renewal application and request for extension of time. But a new law passed in March 2008 says a facility that didn’t accept waste before April 1, 2008, had to return to county zoning authorities for a new permit. JMC installed and operated a collection container system on its property and at the end of March 2008, it had received household trash from paying customers.

The citizens association sought a declaratory judgment in June 2008 that Indiana Code 13-20-2-11 applied to JMC so it had to seek current zoning approval. The trial court granted JMC’s motion for summary judgment and denied the association’s motion for summary judgment. The trial court held that the statute violated the Indiana Constitution because it was a special law that could have been made to apply generally. It also ruled the collection container system didn’t constitute accepting waste.

The Supreme Court didn’t address the constitutional issue and instead focused on the application of the statute to JMC. The justices, in applying the recognized definitions of “facility,” “accept,” and “waste,” unanimously held that the statute doesn’t apply to JMC because the landfill accepted waste before April 1, 2008.

In addition, the facility was only required to have “accepted” waste before the applicable deadline and the waste was not required to be deposited or disposed of as it would be in a landfill, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan.

The justices reversed the trial court and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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