Allen Town Board Refuses to Rescind Its Local Ban Law
Concerned Citizens for All Townships (CCAT) turned out well over 200 people for a June 30, 1997, public hearing on whether the town of Allen should repeal its local landfill ban law, a move that would have opened the door to a proposal by CID of Sardinia to construct a 200 acre commercial landfill in the town. With only one or two exceptions the attendees, nearly all from Allen, expressed strong opposition to the Allen Town Board's plan to scrap its best defense against a new landfill. The show of opposition tipped the scales one week later when one of three landfill proponents on the Board changed his mind, voting against repealing the ban.
When CID purchased options on land for a landfill in the Town of Allen, what was the first thing they had to do? Under the guise of clearing the path to negotiations with the Town, CID first had to convince the Town Board to repeal its local ban law. CID knew Allen's ban law was the biggest obstacle to its plan.
Because New York courts have consistently upheld a towns power to ban landfills, garbage dumps, or waste management facilities, landfill developers like CID and (in Farmersville) IWS must first convince the Town Board to give up that power.
To its credit, on July 8, 1997, the Allen Town Board voted 3-2 against such an action. This took tremendous courage, because CID was paying for a high-priced attorney it had recommended to the Board, who advised the Town that it would indeed have to rescind its ban law before talks with CID could begin.
CCAT made use of the time required before a mandatory public hearing on new legislation could be held to inform Allen residents about what was at stake. As well as long-term groundwater pollution, CCAT pointed to the massive increase in truck traffic that a CID commercial dump would cause. This prompted the Allegany County Superintendent of Public Works Dick Young to calculate the cost to Allegany County taxpayers of dealing with the traffic expected to result from the proposed dump. Under CID's proposal to bring 166 loads of garbage to Allen each day Young estimated more than $4 million in road and bridge repairs would be needed: It will just blow up our roads. (Wellsville Daily Reporter, May 8, 1997)
Thankfully, Allen stood its ground. As long as Allen's ban law remains on the books, the Town is innoculated from the likes of CID.