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Harford County wins rubble landfill case in Maryland’s highest court

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BEL AIR — Maryland’s highest court ruled Friday that Harford County will not have to pay $45.4 million to a plaintiff who sought to develop a rubble landfill thirty years ago near Havre de Grace.

The Maryland Court of Appeals on April 24 upheld the lower court’s reversal of the award to landowner Maryland Reclamation Associates, known as MRA, handed down by Harford County Circuit Court in 2018.

Friday’s ruling followed a series of cases MRA brought over the years against the county after the county denied MRA’s plan for a construction debris landfill on 55 acres near Gravel Hill Road. At issue were county development regulations for landfills, adopted in part because of concerns about environmental hazards.

In response to the 2018 judgement, County Executive Barry Glassman directed the county’s law department to appeal. A number of Maryland county and municipal governments, along with the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League, filed “friend of the court,” or amicus curiae, briefs in support of Harford’s appeal.

In response to Friday’s announcement, County Executive Glassman issued the following statement:

“This case goes back to when I was first elected to the Harford County Council and this final decision by Maryland’s highest court affirms Harford County’s actions and our appeal of the $45.4 million judgement. It’s a victory for environmental justice and local government’s ability to adopt responsible development regulations. I would like to thank County Attorney Melissa Lambert and her team, our outside counsel Andy Baida from Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP, attorney Jeff Blomquist, and the governments and organizations across Maryland that stood up together on behalf of our citizens. I would also like to pay tribute in memory of those citizens who banded together to protect their community including Wink Jonas, Sylvia Hutsell and all the past and present members of St. James AME Church in Gravel Hill.”

The full opinion by the Maryland Court of Appeals is online at

http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/2754/MRA-v-Harford-County-Maryland.

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