Owner of Del. landfill agrees to drop lawsuit against New Castle County

WHYY visited the top of the landfill in June. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

WHYY visited the top of the landfill in June. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

Delaware Recyclable Products, Inc. has agreed to drop a lawsuit against New Castle County for prohibiting the waste management company from increasing its landfill in Minquadale by about 60 feet.

The settlement upholds a new ordinance limiting the height of landfills in the county to 140 feet. In exchange for the company dropping its lawsuit, DRPI is no longer required to acquire a special use permit from the county. It is obligated to get a state permit to increase the landfill from 130 to 140 feet, however.

The company, which argued it had the right to increase the landfill to 190 feet, sued the county for imposing the height limit. The county’s ordinance came after public outcry against the proposal, which community members, environmentalists and Artesian Resources water company argued would pose environmental risks.

“I think it’s a big win for the community,” County Executive Matt Meyer said of the settlement. “We came up with a settlement that shows clearly: the people of this county control county land use. It’s something we should be proud of.”

DRPI declined to comment on the settlement.

Dustyn Thompson of the Sierra Club said the community is disappointed there wasn’t an open dialogue with residents during the agreement. However, he said the end result is what everyone hoped for.

“There’s no question the community was impacted by the landfill. So, the fact there’s now a finite timeline … future communities won’t have to worry about this either,” Thompson said. “Hopefully, the state goes forward and passes even more important regulations around landfills on a state level so we don’t have to do this county by county.”

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