Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Hinesburg Sand & Gravel Co. v. Chittenden Solid Waste Dist.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 21144
Nos. 2:95-CV-208, 959 F. Supp. 652/(D. Vt., 04/03/1997)

The court holds that a municipal solid waste district that condemned a landowner's property for use as a landfill did not violate the landowner's right to due process or "take" money the landowner spent fighting the condemnation, but may have violated the landowner's right to equal protection. The court first holds that the landowner's takings claim is ripe for review. The landowner does not seek in this action compensation for the taking of its real property, for which state proceedings are ongoing, but instead views the expenditures it made opposing the district's actions as the property taken. The court next holds that the landowner failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted by alleging that the district's conduct in the landfill siting process necessitated the landowner to spend substantial sums of money opposing the district, and therefore constituted a regulatory taking. A fundamental requirement for any taking is that the challenged governmental action create legal compulsion; however, the landowner was under no legal compulsion to hire attorneys, engineers, or consultants at any time during the siting and condemnation process. The landowner's due process claims also fail because the landowner has not suffered a deprivation of a protectible property interest. The court next holds that the landowner has adequately alleged a violation of its equal protection rights. If the landowner can prove that the district arbitrarily and irrationally acted to oppress and coerce the landowner into accepting less than full and fair compensation for the land, such proof might well establish an equal protection violation. Finally, the court holds that it retains pendent jurisdiction over the landowner's claim of state common-law abuse of the condemnation procedures.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Charles T. Shea
Gravel & Shea
P.O. Box 369, Burlington VT 05402
(802) 658-0220

Counsel for Defendants
Michael B. Clapp
Affolter, Clapp & Gannon
Five Burlington Sq., P.O. Box 8430, Burlington VT 05402
(802) 864-3499