Anne Arundel County has granted another two-year extension to a company proposing a landfill and gravel operation in Odenton, ruling that it should be permitted more time to obtain the state approval.
Despite objections from nearby residents and some community leaders, National Waste Managers Inc. will have at least two more years to obtain necessary permits from the state. It was first granted approval in 1993 and has received numerous extensions since.
The landfill—commonly referred to as Chesapeake Terrace— would be placed on the south side of Patuxent Road, to the west of Bragers Road. There would also be a sand and gravel operation.
In his ruling, county administrative hearing officer Douglas Hollman said the company has shown that it has been working diligently to get final approvals from the Maryland Department of Environment.
At a hearing on Feb. 7, an official from MDE testified that the company is in the fourth stage of a five-stage approval process. He said operators have been responsive to comments and working toward fulfilling requirements. The county's Office of Planning and Zoning also testified in support of the extension.
Opponents of the landfill have argued that the company has had adequate time to obtain the needed state permits to build.
At the Feb. 7 hearing, opponents included leaders from the Greater Odenton Improvement Association and several residents who live near the proposed site. They presented a letter from refuge manager from the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, who argued that the land should be kept untouched.
In his ruling, Hollman said he could not rule based on whether building the landfill was a good idea, or whether local residents supported or opposed it.
He said much of the delay in receiving approvals was due to litigation brought by opponents and by changes to the state law. He said it was his view that the company has been "diligently pursuing" the needed permits.
"The opposition is grounded on a belief that the applicant should not be allowed to develop the subject properties as a rubble landfill and as a sand & gravel operation because to do so would be environmentally unsound," he wrote. "However, I am limited to examining whether the applicant has met the burden ... to show that it has been prevented from going forward for reasons not attributable to its own conduct. I have no jurisdiction to revisit the original decisions and decide that what was granted then should be denied now."