Company sues York County over thwarted landfill plans

York County faces two more lawsuits related to landfills after a local company filed complaints this week about a proposed landfill on Quarry Road in York.

Marty Taylor, president of Greeneagle Co., said one of the two lawsuits filed this week deals with the county's solid waste plan and the other with zoning issues surrounding the proposed landfill.

Taylor said the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control told him Greeneagle's construction and debris landfill was consistent with the county's waste plan until it was changed in February 2007, something he says points the finger to the county as to why his plans were halted.

"York County is 100 percent directly to blame for Greeneagle not getting its landfill permit," Taylor said. "It's due to the action of a few County Council members and the things they did to stop Greeneagle."

One of the lawsuits claims York County supported a landfill in western York County in 2005, but changes to the solid waste plan, done away from public eye early in 2007, blocked the facility. Greeneagle is asking the courts to allow them to build its landfill under the county's previous solid waste regulations. The lawsuit also asks for at least $5 million in damages.

"I don't want to prove anything," Taylor said. "I want to open my landfill like York County said we could or be reimbursed for all our costs. If I had to choose, all I want is to develop the landfill York County said I could develop."

The lawsuit claims the York County Council acted with negligence when they approved the current waste management plan. A citizen's committee has been reviewing the solid waste plan for several months, prompted by criticism of drastic changes made shortly before the final vote that said the county didn't need another landfill until 2013. Public Works Director David Harmon said Friday the committee will meet again next week before a new recommendation is made to the council.

Taylor said he doesn't expect the committee's recommendation to change his lawsuits.

Greeneagle was notified by DHEC that its landfill permit application was denied last month. That same day, Taylor stood before the County Council and declared intentions to sue the county, apologizing to the county's residents.

"I have no choice but to sue," Taylor said. "We stand firm that no one's ever said we did anything wrong, even the councilmen who voted against us. We're down to our last straws. We're having to borrow the money for this suit."

Greeneagle also filed an administrative appeal of DHEC's decision to deny its permit, Taylor said.

The other lawsuit stems from a zoning question related to the landfill site Taylor said he has been trying to find an answer to since December. Greeneagle wants to know how to keep a special exemption granted by the county's zoning board of appeals in 2006 that was to allow the landfill to proceed. The company claims county attorneys, council members and staff members haven't replied.

Another proposed landfill on Vernsdale Road in Rock Hill is still in litigation. The dispute over that facility triggered a brief lawsuit between Rock Hill and York County.

Taylor said some of the issues in his lawsuits could be resolved by the outcome of the Vernsdale Road issues, and he doesn't expect to file any other lawsuits related to his landfill at this time.

County officials referred questions about the lawsuits to County Attorney Melvin McKeown.

McKeown said he hasn't seen the lawsuits yet to comment on them.