Court affirms Clean Rock ruling

December 06, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

The seven-year legal battle between a Washington County couple and Clean Rock Industries apparently has ended with last week's decision by The Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

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The court has affirmed the ruling by the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals that Clean Rock is a light manufacturing operation, not a recycling business as Dr. Eric Smith and his wife, Susan, had contended in their 1992 lawsuit.

"I'm happy it's over," said Vincent Iuliano, owner of Clean Rock, at 1469 Oak Ridge Place.

Contacted at his office, dentist Eric Smith said he had no comment on the court's decision.

Smith said he and his wife no longer live adjacent to Clean Rock Industries.

The state's second highest court made the following statement in the introduction to its 26-page opinion.

"This zoning case, which originated in August 1992, has four times been before the Board of Zoning Appeals for Washington County. It has four times been before the Circuit Court for Washington County.


"With this appeal, it has twice been before this court. Hopefully the matter shall now be put to rest."

In April 1997, when Maryland's Court of Appeals opted not to hear the case, the Smiths vowed to continue their fight against the business, again appealing to the Court of Special Appeals.

All other residents who had opposed Clean Rock in prior proceedings dropped out of the case prior to the latest appeal.

In its first hearing of the case in 1996, the Court of Special Appeals had ruled that then Washington County Circuit Judge Darrow Glaser erred when he ruled that Clean Rock Industries was a recycling facility.

Recycling facilities are not an approved use in the Highway Interchange Zone-1 where Clean Rock is located.

Clean Rock receives petroleum-contaminated soil and converts it into asphalt. The facility also accepts rubble and turns it into usable material for road base.

"Business is great," Iuliano said, noting the firm has 22 employees.

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