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Al Turi Landfill, Inc. v. Goshen, Town of

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20680
Nos. No. 81 CIV. 4010 (CBM), 556 F. Supp. 231/(S.D.N.Y., 02/01/1982)

The court rules that a town ordinance that regulates the amount of land available for sanitary landfills, but has the effect of barring new or expanded landfills, violates neither the Commerce Clause nor the due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ordinance limits the size of new or expanded sanitary landfills, as well as the total acreage that such uses may occupy, and charges fees for permits to run sanitary landfills. The court first rules that acreage limitations in the ordinance do not violate the Commerce Clause. The limitations fall on intrastate and interstate shipments of solid waste alike and thus do not discriminate against interstate commerce. Since defendants' interest in limiting the number of acres used for sanitary landfills is substantial, the limitation is constitutional. The court next rules that the operating fees for new and existing landfills and the inspection fee do not violate the Commerce Clause. However, the challenge to the operating fee for new facilities need not be addressed since there can be no new facilities. The operating fees for existing facilities are nondiscriminatory and not excessive in relation to the costs incurred by the town. The inspection fee is not charged for plaintiff's existing landfill.

The court also rules that the acreage limitation and fees do not violate the due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. Both requirements bear rational relationships to valid local objectives. The acreage limitation is not rendered irrational by the state's issuance of a permit for plaintiff's proposed expansion of its landfill because the New York Environmental Conservation Law does not preclude enactment of more stringent local laws controlling solid waste disposal. In addition, the acreage limitation will serve the local interest in protecting the health, safety, and well-being of residents. The fees are rationally related to the local purpose of recovering money spent to regulate solid waste disposal.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (10 pp. $1.75, ELR Order No. C-1312).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Edward Beane
Keane & Beane
34 S. Broadway, White Plains NY 10601
(914) 946-4777

Counsel for Defendants
Peter G. Striphas
Cline, MacVean, Lewis & Sherman
108 Main St., Goshen NY 10924
(914) 294-6128

Motley, J.