Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County in case of Greene Township v. Walter Kuhl and/or Greene Landfill, Inc., No. 127 Equity 1976.
William H. Burke, with him William H. Eckert, and Silin, Eckert, Burke, Siegel & Roseman, for appellants.
William T. Jorden, with him McClure, Dart, Miller, Kelleher & White, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 593]
The principal question in this case is whether permits issued by the state Department of Environmental Resources (DER) for the construction and operation of a sanitary landfill, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act (Act), Act of July 31, 1968, P.L. 788, as amended, 35 P.S. § 6001 et seq., make it unnecessary to secure a zoning certificate or building permit from the municipality, within whose boundaries the landfill is to be located. The court below ruled that it was necessary to secure a local permit. We affirm.
Appellants were issued industrial and solid waste disposal and/or processing facility permits by DER
[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 594]
on September 8, 1976. In a letter to appellants dated September 9, 1976, DER's regional environmental protection director confirmed the issuance of the permits and stated that they were "the only permits or plan approvals which will be required for the construction of the landfill." Appellants then began construction of the landfill without acquisition of any municipal permits or certificates. Appellee's petition for a preliminary injunction was granted on September 14, 1976, and continuation of the injunction pending appellant's compliance with the zoning regulations was granted after submission of the matter on the record. This appeal followed.
In our decision as to whether the Act pre-empts the field and prohibits the imposition of local permit requirements for a sanitary landfill, we are bound by the decision of our Supreme Court in City of Pittsburgh v. Commonwealth, 468 Pa. 174, 185, 360 A.2d 607, 613 (1976), in which the Court ruled that the state Bureau of Corrections was not immune from local zoning regulations in its plans for an inmate prerelease center and was required to obtain a certificate of occupancy. The Court, through Justice Roberts, stated:
In the absence of explicit language, such as we saw in Pemberton [Appeal, 434 Pa. 249, 252 A.2d 597 (1969)], whereby the Legislature evinces a clear intent to override local zoning regulations, this Court is bound to follow the mandate of the zoning enabling act.
City of Pittsburgh, supra, at 185-86, 360 A.2d at 613.
As observed by Judge Crumlish, "the objectives of zoning regulations are far more comprehensive than the objectives of the Act," Quakertown Borough v. Richland Township, 28 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 180, 183, 368 A.2d 343, 344 (1977). We cannot ...