District judge upholds county action in first suit

After two years of controversy and adversity, a district court judge has cleared the Marion County Board of Zoning and Appeals of the wrongdoing that was alleged in a lawsuit filed against the county by MSW, Inc.

?This is a relief for us,? Commissioner Bob Hein said Monday. ?This has been an ongoing process and this is a step in the right direction.?

Despite this ruling, the county still has other lawsuits pending filed by the same group, more specifically by its leader, Russell Mills.

Mills? contention is the Board of Zoning and Appeals was in the wrong when it ruled the old county landfill was no longer eligible for a conditional-use permit.

?Basically, (MSW?s) contention was that the land in question was still under a conditional-use status, and they were planning to keep the landfill going,? BZA chair Eileen Sieger said.

Sieger was on the board when the issue arose in 1996, and remained in her position when the ruling was made by BZA administrator Herb Bartel in June 1998.

The case was argued in district court in 1998, but the decision was not issued until this month.

Sieger, who is currently running for a seat on the Marion County commission, said the decision can be appealed.

MSW, Inc., had purchased land close to the old landfill in the hope it would be able to reopen it as a landfill.

When Bartel and BZA members ruled against the request, Mills and MSW, Inc., sued.

District Judge James C. Johnson ruled ?it is therefore by the court considered, ordered, adjudged and decreed that the decision of the Board of Zoning and Appeals of Marion County, Kan., rendered on June 11, 1998, be and the same is hereby affirmed in all respects.?

The BZA had ruled the land was no longer zoned for a conditional-use permit because it had been out of operation for more than 60 days.

?We?ve had a long wait to find out what the decision was going to be,? Sieger said. ?I?m very glad to hear this result. I felt confident at the time of the decision that we had made the right decision. I?m just glad to know the judge sees it that way also.?

County commissioners said they are waiting to hear about a law pending at the state level which would enable the county to ticket individuals for solid waste violations.

The bill passed the Senate by a 39-1 vote, but must also be considered by the House of Representatives.

In other action from the Marion County commission meeting on Monday:

n Commissioners approved a new folding machine for county appraiser Clint Anderson, who said he currently needs to fold more than 10,000 documents. Folding them by hand would make it impossible to distribute them on time, he said.

A bid was accepted of $499 plus shipping charges was accepted from Sunflower Office Products of Hillsboro by a 3-0 vote.

n Commissioners met in executive session for 20 minutes with County Attorney Dan Baldwin to discuss personnel. No action was taken when the public session resumed.

n A new sheep-foot roller was approved for the county?s road and bridge department from Foley Tractor of Salina for $14,350.

n Commissioners also approved a bid of $8,235.20 for transport fuel from Cardie Oil of Tampa.

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