Landfill foes miss appeal deadline
Opponents are contesting the motion, but LUBA has a long history of adhering to established deadlines, having rejected numerous petitions for second chances. Dismissal of the appeal would preclude any further challenge of the zone change, allowing Waste Management to file for approval of the expansion itself.
In January, the county commissioners approved a zone change designed to set the stage for a 37-acre expansion. On Feb. 27, Stop the Dump/Waste Not, Friends of Yamhill County, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and McPhillips Farm Inc. joined in filing an intent to appeal.
The county submitted its record of all materials related to the zoning decision to LUBA on March 2. On April 2, the petitioners filed several objections, to which the county responded on April 9 — unusually quickly.
On April 11, LUBA settled the record. It gave opponents 21 days from that point to submit their petition for review, with the deadline May 2.
Since no motion for extension was submitted before the deadline, and all parties must agree to any extension, the opposition appears to have missed the only window it had available.
Senior Assistant County Counsel Todd Sadlo, who handles land use issues for the county, advised commissioners in a May 6 e-mail that “the deadline for filing a petition for review is ‘strictly enforced.’” He said they could expect a dismissal by LUBA, though the timetable remained “up in the air.”
While the Stop the Dump/Waste Not acknowledged it had suffered a setback, it vowed to continue fighting to prevent the landfill “from harming the area for decades to come.”
In a press release, it asserted: “Our case was — and is — very strong. We are confident that we would have prevailed at LUBA.”
It termed the rezoning carried out at Waste Management’s behest a “travesty of Oregon land use law.”
Jackie Lang, spokeswoman for Waste Management, countered by saying, “We were confident Waste Not’s claim was without merit.
“We are doing exactly what LUBA instructed us to do four years ago. We are on the right path and confident in our legal position.”
She said the next step in Waste Management’s expansion bid would be submission of engineering and design plans to the county next year.
Unless it wins approval to move onto new ground, Riverbend is currently scheduled to reach capacity in 2016. It could, however, extend that another two or three years by seeking and obtaining state Department of Environmental Quality approval for additional berm.
The landfill was originally predicted to reach capacity by 2014, but the DEQ approved erection of a berm along one side, extending its life. Riverbend could seek authorization to construct a berm along the opposite flank as well.
Riverbend serves as a regional landfill. In addition to Yamhill County, it serves portions of Washington, Clackamas, Marion and Multnomah counties.
Coupled with development of a green-tech waste-to-energy plant, serving to significantly reduce the waste flow, the proposed expansion would give the landfill another 15 to 20 years.