Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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July 1, 2014

Boyd gives initial OK to landfill ordinance

Law will impose new regulations on dumping site

CATLETTSBURG — The Boyd County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of a new solid waste management ordinance that would impose more strict regulations on landfill operations, such as Big Run Landfill, during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The solid waste management ordinance stirred up public comment, attracting about 50 Boyd County citizens to the court’s meeting in Catlettsburg.

Ashland attorney Ernie Pitt assisted in drafting the ordinance. He read and explained the tennants of the document to the court and those in attendance.

Pitt said the ordinance “strengthens the hands” of the court to impose fines and other penalties whenever the landfill violates operative conduct written into the law.

He carefully recited key points in Section 5 of the ordinance labeled “Nuisance Abatement.”

Common complaints about the landfill are the stench, the unduly amount of garbage trains passing in and out of the county and the fact trash is coming into the county from states as far away as New York and New Jersey.

While Pitt said accepted out-of-state trash is a federal interstate commerce law, he agreed that the extremely unpleasant smell and loud trains could qualify as being a “nuisance.”

Section 6 of the ordinance discusses violations and penalties for landfills.

According to the document, cases of nuisances can face a civil penalty of up to $500 per day and can be imposed each and every day the nuisance continues after being issued a notice of violation by county code enforcement or the judge-executive.

Despite Pitt’s legal advice, many people spoke out against the county doing any further business with the landfill, many saying they wished the county would do away with it altogether.

But  Judge-Executive William “Bud” Stevens said it’s not that simple.

He said not only would the court and the landfill get caught up in timely court battles that the county would likely lose, he mentioned that Boyd County and its citizens can benefit from having a dumping site in the area.

“If we can pass this, we can start regulating the landfill more heavily,” he said.

Pitt, the commissioners and County Attorney Phillip Hedrick all agreed passing the ordinance was the first step toward finding a solution to the problems community members are attributing to the landfill.

Stevens explained the ordinance differed from the former host agreement in that it was not a unamendable contract that tied the landfill to the county under specific circumstances for years at a time.

The ordinance is a law that can be revisited and amended at any time (basically). Therefore, should the landfill break this law in any way, the court will have the authority to act against it.

Mike Clevenger from Cannonsburg spoke up several times during the meeting. At one point, he declared that the landfill was “the most devastating thing to ever hit Boyd County.”

After nearly two hours of debate, the court unanimously passed the first reading. Stevens said he and the commissioners will consider all public comments in preparing for the ordinance’s second reading.

The next Boyd County Fiscal Court meeting will take place July 15 at the community center at 6 p.m.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653. For Twitter updates, follow@lanabellamy_DI.

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