Thursday, March 09, 2006

Subject: Judge orders talks on transfer station: By MIKE MATHIS, Burlington County Times, MOUNT HOLLY — A judge yesterday ordered lawyers from Hainesport municipal government and a railroad company to meet with county and state officials to resolve a dispute over whether the former Shelter Systems building can become a solid-waste transfer station. Hainesport municipal government filed a lawsuit against Hainesport Industrial Railroad LLC last week that claims the company has not obtained township approval to operate a waste-transfer station at a building off Sylon Boulevard in Hainesport Industrial Park. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction that would bar the company or any partner from using the site as a waste station without licenses and permits. During a hearing yesterday, Superior Court Judge Ronald E. Bookbinder instructed lawyers for the company and Hainesport to meet with representatives from the county and state Department of Environmental Protection in an attempt settle the matter. Bookbinder scheduled another hearing for March 14 for an update on the negotiations. H. Thomas Hunt, a lawyer for Hainesport Industrial Railroad, told the judge the company had no plans to transport waste through the property while the discussions took place. Hainesport Industrial Railroad took over the site at the industrial complex to run a lumber reloading operation, with construction lumber arriving by rail and then distributed to local customers by truck. The company, however, is considering a new use that would involve accepting sealed containers of construction debris to be shipped out by rail. Hainesport officials maintain the company needs approval from the township Joint Land Use Board to operate the transfer station. The company insists the site is not subject to state or local laws because it is a rail operation and thus regulated by the federal government. Several Hainesport residents who live near the property attended yesterday's hearing. Some said they opposed a solid-waste transfer station there under any circumstances. “I'd like to see the place go away, the noise, the trash, everything,” said Steve Thomas of Hainesport-Mount Laurel Road. “I'm tired of fighting.”

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