The Herald Bulletin

December 9, 2013

State approves transfer of Mallard Lake permit

Remonstrators have 15 days to challenge decision

By Traci Moyer and Ken de la Bastide The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — State officials have approved the transfer of the Mallard Lake landfill permit to its new owners.

The transfer was approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management from the JM Corp. to 600 Land with a legal ad appearing in The Herald Bulletin on Saturday. Anyone wishing to challenge the transfer of the permit has 15 days to file for an administrative review by the Office of Environmental Adjudication.

A decision, by those opposed to the landfill to challenge that transfer, however, has not been made.

Officials with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said a permit was transferred to 600 Land Inc. to allow the company to develop 13 acres of the property as a landfill. The permit expires on Feb. 1, 2015, and 600 Land will have to apply for a renewal 120 days before its expiration or the permit expires.

Barry Sneed, a spokesman for IDEM, said Monday that the only thing that changed regarding the permit is the ownership.

He said the conditions surrounding the issuance of the operating permit to JM Corp. in 1988 have not changed.

Bill Kutschera, president of the Killbuck Concerned Citizens Association, said he is unsure what steps his group will take to prevent the landfill from possible development.

“The time frame for us to make a challenge is virtually impossible,” he said noting the 15 days for a challenge to be made.

Kutschera says KCCA unsuccessfully opposed the original issuing of the permit for Mallard Lake and the legal battle was an expensive venture. He said KCCA has contacted its legal representative regarding the transfer of the permit, but its options may be limited.

“It’s brutally costly and we have to rely on donations from the residents of Madison County,” he said. “Right now, I don’t know if there is anything new for us to protest. We have protested the first permit and provided all the ecological studies to prove its negative effects and a judge ordered the permit issued.”

The application to transfer the permit was made the same day the property was purchased, Kutschera said, but 600 Land representatives did not inform the group about their plans to have the permit transferred.

Documents filed with IDEM show that on Sept. 5 a corporate warranty deed was issued by the JM Corp. for ownership of the Mallard Lake property to BEX Farms, a division of Best Way Disposal, for $10 and other valuable considerations. County records show BEX Farms purchased the property for $1.125 million.

On Sept. 9, BEX Farms signed a lease with 600 Land for the property at $1 per year until Sept. 9, 2043. According to the lease agreement, 600 Land has the right to construct, operate and maintain a solid waste facility on the premises as long as it conforms with the state operating permit.

600 Land officials have repeatedly said they have “no need or current plans to use the property as a landfill.”

“They forgot to tell me when they invited me out there that they were signing the application to transfer the permit the same day they bought the property,” Kutschera said. “If you are not planning to use it, why would you fill out a 27-page application? Why not just lay it out there and let it expire?

“As you can see, there is a disconnect. It’s all a dog-and-pony show. We know, now, what they are planning to do and we will take every action we can to block it,” he said.

Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith, who has opposed the operating of a landfill at the Richland Township site, said the city has no legal standings to challenge the transfer of the permit.

“I tried to annex northeast of Anderson to the tip of the Mallard Lake landfill,” he said. “That would have pulled the area into the city where the city’s zoning laws would apply to the property. It could have been zoned for residential or agricultural use.”

The Anderson Common Council voted against the proposed annexation earlier this year.

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