COLUMBUS — On December 16, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeals against Colerain Township, refusing to grant the township the right to intervene in a case Rumpke Consolidated Companies filed against the State of Ohio. The case is part of Rumpke’s attempt to circumvent the township’s rejection of its proposed 350 acre landfill expansion, and involves a challenge to a 2007 state law. The township argued that being excluded from this case will harm a related case involving the township’s right to exercise local zoning laws. The decision passed 4-3. Justice Robert Cupp wrote in a dissenting opinion,
The township’s interest in this intervention case is that the result of the preexisting zoning case directly affects each party’s legal position within that preexisting and pending case. In the zoning case, Rumpke has directly challenged the application of the existing zoning law to it by newly asserting its status as a public utility for zoning purposes—the very issue that the intervention case affects. Rumpke’s challenge to the township’s zoning authority in the zoning case raises a significant legal issue because, according to the township, Rumpke is only now, after 40 years of submitting to the township’s zoning resolution, asserting that it is not subject to the township’s zoning resolution. Consequently, the township’s authority to enforce its zoning resolution is squarely at issue in both the zoning case and in the intervention case.
— Melissa English, Southern Ohio Campaign Director, Ohio Citizen Action