Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, in the case of Pine Grove Landfill, Inc. v. Richard M. Longenecker, John Brown, and Leonard Fidler, Individually and as Board of Supervisors of the Township of Pine Grove; and Pine Grove Township, Nos. S-24-1987 and S-23-1987.
Edward M. Brennan, Pfeiffer, Brown & Baldwin, for appellants.
Chester C. Corse, Jr., with him, Joseph H. Jones, Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.
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Appellants, Richard Longenecker, John Brown, Leonard Fidler, and Pine Grove Township (Township),
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appeal a final order entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County granting appellee's, Pine Grove Landfill, Inc., petition for declaratory judgment and petition for review of governmental action. We affirm.
Appellee applied for a zoning permit to operate a sanitary landfill in Pine Grove Township. On February 13, 1985, the zoning permit was issued, and appellee then applied to the Department of Environmental Resources (DER) for permission to operate the landfill. The DER granted a phase I or first level permit to operate the landfill.
Although the Township does not have a solid waste program, nor a comprehensive plan or zoning ordinance, it enacted Ordinance 31-A on December 3, 1986, which requires that landfill operations have a one-half mile setback from a place of human burial. Since appellee's landfill site is within one-half mile of a cemetery, appellee filed a petition to review the action of the Township and a complaint for declaratory judgment, contending that Ordinance 31-A is an illegal attempt to zone their particular tract of land and that the Solid Waste Management Act (Act)*fn1 has pre-empted the Township's powers in this area.
The trial court held that Ordinance 31-A is invalid and unenforceable, and that the ordinance bears no rational relationship to the public welfare. The Township, on appeal, contends that in the exercise of its police power, it need not have a comprehensive plan or zoning ordinance in order to provide a setback as a condition for the operation of the landfill. We disagree.
It is the purpose of the Act, as stated in section 102(1) of the Act, 35 P.S. § ...