Virginia state court strikes down county biosolids ordinance

A Virginia state court judge has struck down a Spotsylvania County ordinance that sought to impose special use permits and other zoning restrictions on the land application of biosolids.

Feb. 11, 2004 -- A Virginia state court judge has struck down a Spotsylvania County ordinance that sought to impose special use permits and other zoning restrictions on the land application of biosolids.

In the case which was decided on Feb. 9, Recyc Systems, Inc., had asked the court to nullify zoning provisions the county had placed on the application of biosolids on farm land. Recyc Systems has a permit from the Virginia Department of Health to apply biosolids to farm land. Spotsylvania County said it had a right to adopt reasonable laws related to land application of biosolids and that its laws were not in conflict with any state laws.

In its decision, the court followed the recent federal court ruling in the O'Brien v. Appomattox County case and held that "all local zoning ordinances that now attempt to regulate or control land application of biosolids in agricultural zones are inconsistent with state law except those related to testing and monitoring."

The state of Virginia had earlier passed a law that made permitting for land-application the responsibility of the state department of health.

This decision is particularly noteworthy because the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit that issued this ruling includes many Virginia counties that have extensive land application activity.

Related Documents:
Commonwealth of VA 15th Judicial Circuit Court Decision: http://biosolids.policy.net/relatives/27401.pdf

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