APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
528 N.E.2d 390, 174 Ill. App. 3d 82, 123 Ill. Dec. 845 1988.IL.1316
Petition for review of order of Pollution Control Board.
JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT and DUNN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REINHARD
Petitioner, A. R. F. Landfill, Inc. , sought siting approval from the Lake County Board (county board) for expansion of its present waste management facility. Following an evidentiary hearing, conducted pursuant to sections 39.2(d) and (e) of the Environmental Protection Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 1/2, pars. 1039.2(d), (e)), the county board denied ARF's request for siting approval. ARF appealed the county board's decision to the Illinois Pollution Control Board , which, after a hearing on ARF's appeal pursuant to section 40.1 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1040.1), affirmed the decision of the county board.
The issues raised on appeal are whether the county board was biased and prejudiced, thereby conducting a fundamentally unfair local siting hearing, and whether the PCB's decision that ARF failed to satisfy criteria (i), (ii), and (vi) of section 39.2(a) of the Act is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
On October 3, 1986, ARF filed its local siting request with Lake County seeking approval for expansion of its present waste management site. A local siting hearing commenced on January 19, 1987. The hearing was conducted by seven members of the county board and a hearing officer. Also present, in addition to various attorneys and witnesses, were John David Koenen, a Lake County assistant State's Attorney representing Lake County, and Larry M. Clark, a Lake County assistant State's Attorney representing the Lake County Joint Action Solid Waste Planning Agency. Both ARF and objectors to ARF's application presented numerous witnesses who provided extensive testimony on the various statutory criteria under section 39.2(a). The hearing committee subsequently voted to deny ARF's petition because it failed to meet any of the six applicable criteria set forth in section 39.2(a) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 1/2, par. 1039.2(a)). On March 24, 1987, the county board planning and zoning committee presented the hearing committee's findings and a resolution denying ARF's petition to the county board. The county board denied ARF's petition by a 22 to 1 vote, with one abstention, based on ARF's failure to satisfy any of the statutory criteria in section 39.2(a).
On April 27, 1987, ARF filed a "siting application appeal" with the PCB. In its appeal, ARF claimed that the decision of the county board was against the manifest weight of the evidence, that the county board was biased and prejudiced, and that the hearing was fundamentally unfair. Additionally, ARF filed interrogatories with the PCB as well as mailed copies of those interrogatories to each member of the county board and to the counsel of record. Pursuant to ARF's motion to compel response to discovery, the PCB hearing officer issued an order compelling the county board members to answer the interrogatories by June 12, 1987, or justify their failure to respond by that date.
On June 15, 1987, ARF filed an emergency motion for sanctions against the county board for its failure to respond to the interrogatories and discovery request. Beginning on June 16, 1987, and continuing to August 11, 1987, the various county board members filed their responses to the interrogatories. The PCB's October 1, 1987, order reflects that it considered the answers to interrogatories filed by the county board members.
On June 24, 1987, the PCB conducted its public hearing. ARF did not present any witnesses in support of its claim of bias and prejudice, but did offer several newspaper articles which it claimed demonstrated the bias and prejudice of certain county board members. Specifically, ARF refers to the following quotations contained in various newspaper articles, published prior to the initial siting hearing, as evidence of county board member bias and prejudice:
County Board Member Bruce Hansen:
"We need to start speaking out. We need to stand up and say, if eight saints stand on their heads, I still won't vote for a landfill."
County Board Member John Reindl:
"The density of Heartland won't be a problem, never fear, because no one will want to live near a garbage dump."
County Board Member Bruce Hansen:
"I am deeply saddened that I even have to be here tonight . . . to fight off a landfill in our own backyard."
County Board Member Gerald Beyer:
"Residents in the area of the ARF Landfill 'have had enough ...