Property owners organize to fight Richfield landfill
Group seeks to intervene in lawsuit against village

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

July 25, 2015

RICHFIELD - A recently formed group of Richfield property owners is vowing to fight the opening of a proposed landfill in the village.

The group, Richfield Residents Against Dump, has hired an attorney so the court will consider what they feel is the negative impact on them and their property if the landfill opens. RRAD was formed as a registered limited liability company.

“We’ve been directed to take any and all legal measures to oppose any dumping of materials on the property,” said RRAD’s attorney, Alan Marcuvitz, in a letter to Scenic Pit LLC’s attorney Bruce McIlnay.
 
At Thursday’s night’s Village Board meeting during the citizens comments period, Scenic Pit LLC Managing Partner Danah Zoulek accused the village of spreading lies about the project.

Marcuvitz said Friday he expected to forward legal documents that day to Washington County Circuit Court seeking to allow his clients to intervene in the dispute. He said he hoped a date would then be set to allow him to present his clients’ arguments.

“We demand that your client immediately cease and desist any activity associated with preparation for or the acceptance of dumping materials on the property unless and until you receive all approvals required by law,” Marcuvitz said in the letter. “Rest assured that we will oppose any re-zoning or issuance of approvals to allow for the proposed offensive use. Unless it is your intent to abandon the plan, we will seek to intervene in the circuit court case so the voices of the many neighbors who oppose this dump will be heard.”

A hearing on Scenic Pit LLC’s request for a temporary injunction was planned for Sept. 1 in Washington County Circuit Court, but the company’s attorney has now asked for the hearing to be scheduled for Aug. 7. On Thursday the village requested the hearing be held on the original date of Sept. 1.

In a phone interview Friday, Marcuvitz said the “doctrine of a private nuisance” will be part of the focus in his clients’ arguments.

“That doctrine means that if something is completely lawful it still can be prevented if it causes a nuisance to a private property owner,” Marcuvitz said. “That ruling prevented a different landfill from opening elsewhere in the state recently.”

Village Administrator Jim Healy said it’s expected Marcuvitz will request a formal hearing to be allowed as an intervening party and will likely request the date previously scheduled for the plaintiff’s motion for a summary judgement on Aug. 7 as their date to appear in court to advocate for his clients.

At Thursday’s night’s Village Board meeting during the citizens comments period, Scenic Pit LLC Managing Partner Danah Zoulek accused the village of spreading lies about the project. She became loud and argumentative with the board, and Village President John Jeffords repeatedly asked her to lower her voice or he would be forced to end her comments.

A supporter of the pit project, Jeff Gonyo, was told during his comments by Jeffords that if he did not stick to the item on the night’s agenda he would be forced to stop commenting. Gonyo and Jeffords argued until Gonyo’s three minute comment period ended.

Gonyo accused village officials of spreading “malicious lies” about Zoulek’s project.

Healy said as of June 23 the village has spent more than $45,500 on attorney’s fees related to the Scenic Pit case. June’s invoice alone was for $17,000.


Reach reporter Joe VanDeLaarschot at .