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Soaring Vista Properties, Inc. v. Board of County Comm'rs of Queen Anne's County

Citation: 30 ELR 20218
No. No. 87, 741 A.2d 1110/(Md., 11/26/1999)

The court holds that a state law preempted a county ordinance that placed a six-month moratorium on the construction of all sludge storage facilities, and, consequently, a wastewater firm could build a sludge storage facility in the county under an approved state sludge utilization permit. The court first holds that at the time the firm received its state sludge utilization permit, Maryland Code §§ 9-230 to 9-249 preempted the field of sewage sludge utilization, which included sewage sludge storage facilities. In Talbot County v. Skipper, 620 A.2d 880 (1983), the court held that with the passage of §§ 9-230 to 9-249, the state legislature intended to preempt the field of regulating sewage sludge utilization, and the statutory defintion of "utilization" includes storage. Further, precedent offered by the county relies on a no-longer-applicable statutory scheme. Moreover, where the state legislature intended local governments to act with regard to sewage sludge utilization, it expressly listed certain activities subject to local zoning control, and sewage sludge storage was not one of those activities. In addition, although the state legislature allowed local involvement in sewage sludge storage permitting in 1999, the firm received its state permit long before such involvement became effective.

[Counsel not available at this printing.]

Before Bell, Eldridge, Rodowsky, Chasanow,* Raker, Wilner, and Cathell, JJ.