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Maryland Reclamation Associates v. Harford County

Court of Appeals of Maryland
994 A.2d 842 (2010)


In February 1990, Maryland Reclamation Associates (MRA) (plaintiff) purchased property located in Harford County (defendant). MRA sought to use the land for a rubble landfill. Before the purchase, the county had decided to include the property in its Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), and the state issued an environmental permit for a landfill at the site. The project’s inclusion in the SWMP was achieved by a vote of four of seven council members: two abstained because of inadequate information; one abstained because his son was the president of MRA. Hundreds attended the approval hearings, held in November 1989, in opposition to the rubble landfill. The county ultimately adopted a zoning amendment that imposed new conditions on rubble landfill sites and required use variances. MRA sued the city to allow the rubble landfill on the theory that it had a vested right to proceed with its plan. The trial court held that MRA did not have a vested right to construct the rubble landfill. MRA’s instant appeal invoked zoning estoppel by alleging that it had spent over one million dollars for the land purchase and engineering fees after relying on the city’s inclusion of the landfill site in its SWMP.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Adkins, J.)

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