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Board Rejects Extension for Landfill Construction

After previously receiving multiple extensions of time, operators of the Chesapeake Terrace Landfill were denied another two-year extension.

The Board of Appeals has rejected a request for a time extension by operators of the Chesapeake Terrace landfill. (Credit: Teresa McMinn)
The Board of Appeals has rejected a request for a time extension by operators of the Chesapeake Terrace landfill. (Credit: Teresa McMinn)
The Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals last week ruled against the operators of a proposed rubble landfill in southern Odenton, denying a request for another two-year time extension to begin construction.  

Operators of the Chesapeake Terrace Landfill argued that they needed more time to complete the permitting process with the Maryland Department of Environment. But in a split decision, the Board of Appeals rejected the time extension, on the grounds that operators had not shown that they were moving quickly enough to complete the application. 

A county administrative hearing officer granted the time extension last February, but nearby property owners appealed the decision. After hearings held over the summer and fall, the Board of Appeals was split 2-2 on whether to reverse the decision. Because the board could not reach a majority, the time extension was denied. 

The landfill was proposed for an old gravel pit off Patuxent Road in the southern end of Odenton, and efforts to build it date back to the early 1990s. Applicants had previously received three time extensions of two years each. The project was also on hold between 1993 and 2001 during pending litigation, and changes to various laws also created some delays. 

Board members Doreen Strothman and Jay Breitenbach voted to deny the time extension. Chairman William C. Knight and Carroll Hicks voted in favor. Three other members did not participate in the appeal. 

Strothman and Breitenbach said the applicants should have worked more quickly. It noted that MDE issued a letter in March of 2011 requesting 28 pieces of information. The landfill representatives did not respond for more than a year. 

"The Petitioners lack of discipline in pursuing their applications has resulted in at least 12 years of repeated extensions for time," Strothman and Breitenbach wrote. "By allowing further extensions, the development of adjacent properties will continue to be affected as community members and developers in the area wonder whether they will eventually live near or adjacent to a landfill. We find that by granting the variance requests, the increased period of uncertainty will impair the appropriate use or development of adjacent properties." 

Members of the Board of Appeals said that landfill operators had previously insisted two years would be enough time, only to come back and request additional time. 

"The last time the Petitioners were before this board, the representation was made that Phase III of the MDE permitting process was almost complete, and here we are with the same representations being made," Strothman and Breitenbach wrote. 

Landfill representatives said a two-year extension would have allowed them to move to the final phases of the application process. But opponents argued that there was still considerable work that could not be completed within a two-year span, including land acquisition and some off-site improvements.

The landfill applicants have 30 days to appeal this decision to the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County. 

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