Newton County reported that its 13-year-old lawsuit to prevent a private landfill from locating here was successful.
On Dec. 17, Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn ruled in the county's favor, saying that a landfill would have violated the county's zoning ordinance.
East Georgia Land and Development Company owns 417 acres off Fire Tower Road, just southwest of the county's current nearly 90-acre landfill on Lower River Road. In 1997 East Georgia Land requested a letter from the county stating that East Georgia Land was permitted to develop a landfill on its property, the first step in applying for a landfill permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The county refused to write a letter, citing a 1985 zoning ordinance the county said prohibited the landfill from being built. The land is zoned Agricultural-Residential.
East Georgia Land sued the county to force it to write a letter. Ozburn ruled that the ordinance does not allow landfills in any zoning district.
The case was delayed in part because companion lawsuits were filed regarding the legitimacy of the zoning ordinance and zoning maps. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Newton County's favor in those cases in January 2010.