Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Landfill battle gets murkier

Sides disagree over 'deal' offer

The Cincinnati Enquirer


        MORROW — With Warren county's only landfill closing at the end of May, anti-landfill activists and operators of the waste site continue to battle — even differing on what happened at a March 22 meeting.

        Anti-landfill activists claim Bigfoot Run landfill operators offered Morrow and Warren County officials an out-of-court compromise that would require the opponents to stop battling against a new waste site.

        But Bigfoot Run operators say nothing of the sort has been offered.

        During the meeting, attorneys for Morrow, Warren County and the Morrow Environmental Preservation Association (MEPA) met to discuss the status of two lawsuits filed by Browning-Ferris Industries of Ohio Inc. (BFI).

        BFI has lawsuits pending against Warren County commissioners, who in December voted to reject rezoning of BFI's Bigfoot Run landfill for expansion, and Morrow officials for denying them a rezoning request in 1997 for the Alpine resort site.

        According to MEPA, a sce nario was discussed during the attorneys' meeting by which BFI would give the Alpine site to Morrow in exchange for MEPA halting its fight against Bigfoot Run's expansion in Union Township.

        But BFI District Vice President Rob Dolder denied knowledge of an offer being passed on to county attorneys attending the meeting. Such an offer, he added, is unlikely.

        Mr. Dolder said BFI has previously stated that it would halt its efforts to get zoning approval for the Alpine site if MEPA, and county commissioners, would not oppose expansion of Bigfoot Run.

        “But right now we are pursuing both of them,” he said. “With a little luck maybe we'll win both of them.”

        MEPA attorney John Phillips said the anti-landfill group rejected such a hypothetical solution to the lawsuits as being unfair to residents who want to be rid of the last operating landfill in Warren County when Bigfoot Run closes.

        “MEPA said no to short-circuiting the legal process to determining who is right,” he said.

        He described the two-hour meeting in Lebanon, which was not attended by a BFI representative, as “a preliminary stage of negotiation.”


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