Published: October 25, 2014
Plans to expand Keystone Sanitary Landfill may violate the borough’s zoning law that restricts the height of structures, opponents of the expansion say.
Answering the complicated legal question of how the zoning law would relate to the landfill starts with a simple query: Is the landfill a structure?
The answer is important because Dunmore’s 2000 zoning ordinance limits the height of buildings and structures in M-1 zones — in which the Keystone resides on the Dunmore side of the landfill — to 50 feet.
Dunmore’s zoning handbook defines a structure as: “Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires location on the ground or attachment to something having a fixed location on the ground.” It goes on to list examples like buildings, mobile homes, swimming pools, carports, walls, fences and billboards.
“I think you would find a legitimate debate as to whether it is a structure under the zoning laws,” landfill consultant Albert Magnotta said.
Dunmore resident Pat Clark, a licensed attorney who is concerned about the expansion, argued Keystone is indeed a structure and cited a Commonwealth Court ruling from January that found a similar height restriction in Liberty Twp. applied to a proposed 99.27-acre landfill site in Mercer County.
The decision “may be cited for its persuasive value but not as a binding precedent,” according to the written opinion.
From Mr. Clark’s perspective, Keystone is not naturally-occurring but is manmade, and therefore is a structure.