City's Landfill Expansion Dispute Lands in Court

By: Muriel Bailey Email
By: Muriel Bailey Email

DOTHAN, AL--Back and forth the city's attorney and a lawyer representing residents who are against the landfill expansion made arguments.

The city says it's governmental while residents say it's proprietary.

"If they're doing it for more than just their citizens, if they're charging money to do this and we know they are. Our city landfill charges money to the towns of Gordon, Ashford, Columbia, the county and I believe that puts them in the landfill business and as such they have to abide by the holdings of the zoning board like any other business does," said Lawyer Adam Jones.

"We expect the judge is not going to allow any evidence to be taken in this because he has no jurisdiction to take it because the planning commission has no jurisdiction to take it," said Dothan City Attorney Len White.

The city's attorney Len White says, if the judge dismisses everything, the city will most likely move forward with the expansion.

"The special exception for the landfill is void and the city is free to proceed with the development."

"I believe that if the judge dismisses this case the city will attempt to, whether they have the right to remains to be seen," said Jones.

Adam Jones, the lawyer representing residents says if that does happen, residents can still take action

"Pursue their rights in civil court, they could seek and injunction and there's probably a lot of other options there that we'd have to explore," said Jones.

He says he wants to see the case go to trial.

Judge Binford gave the residents' attorney 24-hours to submit case law to back up the claim.

Judge Binford says he will make a ruling within a week.

The hearing stems from a meeting in December, where the zoning board failed to approve the city's request for a special exception to Dothan's zoning ordinance.

That ordinance allows the construction of landfills in areas of land zoned for agriculture conservation.

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