Newtown landfills scrutinized

July 10, 2013
Cincinnati Enquirer

The village may toughen its zoning regulations, go to court and join up with regulatory agencies to more effectively control construction and demolition-debris landfills that are prompting complaints from residents.

Residents living near Newtown Fill and Burger Environmental, both on State Route 32 in Newtown, say an increasing amount of garbage is flying through neighborhoods and an increasing amount of late-night operational noise is emanating from the landfills.

Mayor Curt Cosby said Burger Environmental is cooperating with the village and expects to cap its landfill within the next year.

Cosby said the village is keeping an eye on Newtown Fill in part because it is beginning to rise above State Route 32.

Representatives of Newtown Fill could not be reached for comment.

But a representative of Burger Environmental said its landfill, which opened in 1990, is closing.

"We operate within the guidelines set forth by the Ohio (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Hamilton County health department, and are inspected at least monthly by those agencies," said Bart Rowland of the Burger Farm and Garden Center.

"We are in the process of closing the landfill in the near future and repurposing the land."

Newtown Village Council recently agreed that Mayor Cosby should meet with lawyers who have proposed a three-pronged plan of action involving the landfills.

The plan was outlined in a June 18 letter to Cosby from William Hayes of Frost Brown Todd's downtown Cincinnati office.

Hayes included price tags for each of three portions of the plan - some of which Councilman Mark Kobasuk called "a little high," to the agreement of some of his fellow Newtown officials.

Frost Brown Todd is proposing to:

Review and update Newtown's zoning ordinance "to strengthen its legal options to better regulate activities that have negative impacts on the village and its residents," Hayes said.

"Frost Brown Todd has conducted preliminary research into the issue and has determined that some construction and demolition-debris operations likely constitute illegal non-conforming uses that have never complied with the village's zoning regulations."

Estimated cost: a maximum of $8,000.

File a lawsuit seeking an injunction to end violations of the village's zoning regulations.

"The process of seeking an injunction usually occurs in two phases: a preliminary and then a permanent injunction," Hayes said.

"It generally takes two to three months to obtain a preliminary injunction, and in our experience the granting of a preliminary injunction ultimately ends up being dispositive of the case, making it unnecessary to seek a permanent injunction."

Estimated cost: $50,000 to $60,000.

"However, as we discussed, the cost of such action is very dependent on the actions of the party defending the actions," Hayes said.

Work with Hamilton County and the state on regulatory activities concerning landfills.

This would include staying in contact with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and lobbying the Ohio Attorney General's Office for help, Hayes said.

Estimated cost: a maximum of $3,500, to be reviewed annually.

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