Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in the case of The Township of Chartiers v. William H. Martin, Inc. and Chambers Development Company, Inc., No. 87-3909.
Clifford B. Levine, with him, David G. Ries, Scott H. Fergus, Ralph F. Scalera, Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for appellants.
Stanley R. Geary, with him, Richard DiSalle, Rose, Schmidt, Hasley & DiSalle, and James P. Liekar.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, Doyle, Barry, Palladino, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
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Before us for consideration is the propriety of the grant of a preliminary injunction, which was issued by
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the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, and is yet one more piece of litigation in a continuing series of appeals arising from the implementation by the Department of Environmental Resources (DER) of a daily volume limit program limiting the amount of waste Chambers Development Company (Chambers) is entitled to dump per day. This particular case involves not DER directly, but rather the Township of Chartiers (Township), which is the situs where Chambers is currently disposing of waste material being brought in from New Jersey, pursuant to contracts entered into with certain New Jersey municipalities.*fn1
The trial court on August 18, 1987 enjoined Chambers from collecting, transporting, processing, receiving, accepting or disposing of solid waste at the Arden Landfill in excess of a maximum daily volume of two thousand cubic yards or its equivalent in tonnage without obtaining a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board of Chartiers Township. The following day the trial court denied Chambers' request for a stay of that order. The grant of the preliminary injunction was appealed to this Court. In addition, Chambers petitioned this Court to stay the lower court's order; Judge Bucher of this Court entered a stay. Judge Bucher's order was then appealed by the Township to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which, on May 28, 1988, upheld the order staying the injunction. See Township of Chartiers v. William H. Martin, Inc., 518 Pa. 181, 542 A.2d 985 (1988). Accordingly, the only issue which we now have
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before us is whether the trial court properly granted the preliminary injunction.
Chambers operates a one hundred sixty-acre landfill facility in the Township. The landfill contains two distinct valleys known as the west valley and the east valley. Until the time of the instant litigation, waste disposal had occurred exclusively in the west valley. Chambers has, however, prepared the east valley for eventual dumping and is presently using this valley in its operations. The landfill site is located in a part of the Township which is zoned residential and, therefore, the operation and maintenance of the landfill is not a permitted use; rather, it exists as a legal, pre-existing, nonconforming use under the Township's zoning ordinance. The entire one hundred sixty acres is covered under the present DER permit, which allows for landfill operations in both valleys. Chambers is authorized by the permit to process a maximum daily volume of two thousand cubic yards or its equivalent in tonnage.
The instant litigation apparently had its genesis in contracts which Chambers entered into with certain New Jersey municipalities, providing for Chambers to accept and deposit their waste. The disposal of this New Jersey waste has resulted in a large increase in daily tonnage intake at the Arden landfill. What we are required to consider is whether the increased volume of ...