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Village of Riverdale v. Allied Waste Transportation

September 27, 2002

VILLAGE OF RIVERDALE, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ALLIED WASTE TRANSPORTATION INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION; AND SUBURBAN WAREHOUSE, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, AND FRANK M. WARD, SR., AS TRUSTEE OF THE FRANK M. WARD SR., REVOCABLE TRUST, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Stephen A. Schiller Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Quinn

UNPUBLISHED

Plaintiff, the Village of Riverdale, filed a complaint for injunctive relief against defendants, Allied Waste Transportation, Inc., Suburban Warehouse, Inc., and Frank M. Ward, Sr., seeking to enjoin defendants from continuing to operate their waste disposal, storage and recycling facility. The complaint alleged defendants were operating the facility without obtaining the requisite permits and license pursuant to applicable statutes and ordinances. A temporary restraining order was entered on January 26, 2001. Following an evidentiary hearing, a preliminary injunction was entered on August 27, 2001. Defendants now appeal that order.

On appeal, defendants argue that the trial court improperly granted a preliminary injunction where plaintiff has an adequate remedy at law.

For the following reasons, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Defendants, Allied Waste Transportation, Inc., Suburban Warehouse, Inc., and Frank M. Ward, Sr. are the lessors/operates of a waste disposal, storage and recycling facility at 13050 South State Street, Riverdale, Illinois. Defendants' activities at the facility included the acceptance, separation, shredding, storage and processing of large quantities of wood, paper, metal, demolition and general debris.

On January 26, 2001, plaintiff, the Village of Riverdale (Village), filed a complaint for injunctive relief and abatement of nuisance, along with an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order. The Village alleged that defendants have engaged in the above-mentioned activities since at least October 1998. The complaint alleged that two fires, one on August 25, 2000, and one on October 21, 2000, commenced on defendants' property in piles of waste. Defendants agreed to cease the receipt of waste and all operations at the facility on October 23, 2000. However, on January 22, 2001, defendants advised plaintiff by letter that they intended to begin accepting loads of "wood waste and other recyclable materials for processing and storage."

The Village's complaint alleged that defendants had not obtained a permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to operate a waste disposal and storage facility on the property as required by statute. Defendants also allegedly failed to obtain local siting approval from the Village for operating a pollution control facility or a conditional use permit for operating a wood recycling, solid waste disposal or solid waste storage operation as required by statute. Both the complaint and the emergency motion alleged that defendants' operations represent a continuing fire hazard. The Village's brief on appeal alleged that the wood A-frame structure on defendants' property contains no sprinkler or fire suppression system.

The trial court granted the Village's motion for a temporary restraining order on January 26, 2001. On July 24, 2001, a hearing was held on the Village's motion seeking a preliminary injunction. James Stock, director of building and zoning in the Village, testified that in early 2000 he toured defendants' property. Stock testified that defendants' activities on the property constituted the operation of a recycling and waste transfer facility. These activities are considered conditional uses under the Village's zoning code. Stock also testified as to the conditions on the property, including piles of separated and mixed materials, fuel containers not protected, questionable electric wiring and dilapidated buildings. Stock also testified that fires occurred on defendants' property in July 2000, in August 2000 and on October 21, 2000.

Tyrone Jarrett, fire chief for the Village, testified to the general safety and public health concerns present on defendants' property. Jarret testified that upon viewing defendants' property he had a major concern with the capabilities to suppress fires in the area because the entrances and exits to the area are limited and the water resources are limited. Jarret testified that the October 21, 2000, fire on defendants' property lasted between four and six days.

Rudolph Rinas, assistant fire chief for the Village, also testified that the limited water, the limited means of egress, the tremendous exposures to the A-frame building, the propane tanks, the aboveground storage tanks, the large wood chip pile and the past fires all represented serious fire safety concerns. Jeffrey Diver, special environmental counsel to the Village, also testified to the fire hazards and general health and safety issues present on defendants' property.

Zenovia Evans, mayor of the Village, testified that the Village had not issued defendants a business license for the year 2001 because defendants were not in compliance with the Village code, safety requirements, or statutory requirements for the State of Illinois. Evans testified that if a business tried to operate without a business license, police and building inspectors would be sent to shut it down and tag the building.

Paul Howe, district manager of Allied Waste, testified that following the October fire, defendants "agreed to certain restrictions on inbound material and how we would conduct our business activities during the cleanup of the fire that occurred in October." Howe testified that he memorialized this agreement to voluntarily cut back operations in a letter to the Village's ...


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