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Mullis Tree Serv., Inc. v. Bibb County

ELR Citation: 23 ELR 21444
Nos. No. 91-401-3-MAC (WDO), 822 F. Supp. 738/(M.D. Ga., 05/19/1993)

The court holds that a county board of commissioners lacks authority under Georgia law to prohibit household waste landfills within a one-half mile of residential property, and that an importation ordinance violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against out-of-county waste. The court holds that the owner and operator of a landfill has standing because he falls within the "zone of interests" to be protected by the Commerce Clause, and he is able to show that he will be economically harmed if the regulations are enforced. The court holds that the one-half-mile buffer requirement for household waste landfills is actually a zoning ordinance and is therefore invalid under state law, because only the planning and zoning commission has authority under Georgia law to pass zoning ordinances. The court holds that the waste importation ordinance is unconstitutionally discriminatory on its face, because the county has offered no basis, apart from origin, for treating out-of-county waste differently from in-county waste. The court also holds that the board of commissioners and individual board members are entitled to absolute legislative immunity from damages, because their challenged conduct was in furtherance of their legislative duties.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
L. Robert Lovett, William E. Hicks
Lovett & Hicks
165 First St., Macon GA 31202
(912) 750-0200

Counsel for Defendants
Charles A. Mathis Jr., Donald J. Jordan, Virgil L. Adams
Mathis, Jordan & Adams
P.O. Box 928, Macon GA 31202
(912) 453-9387