Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Wise County landfill ordinance void

In the spirit of Lawrence v. Texas, the Virginia Supreme Court applied the rational basis test to the Wise County landfill fee ordinance in the case of Estes Funeral Home v. Adkins, and struck down the ordinance as irrational, in an opinion written by Justice Kinser, reversing a decision by Judge Quillen. I'd say this is a bad decision that will be cited by litigants many, many times, and distinguished by future courts many, many times - the county ought to get the benefit of the doubt when drawing lines in nebulous areas, which is exactly what that case is about.

I imagine that all it takes for the County to "fix" its ordinance is to get a better witness to explain whatever the next ordinance says, evidently the members of the Court could not get their minds around the meaning of the testimony of the fellow who used to be interim county administrator, a decent guy I always thought, who went to college with my aunt Lois at Clinch Valley way back when.

The Kingsport Times-News (registration required) had this article and the Coalfield Progress has this article on the decision.

We had a case recently where we sued over the validity of a county ordinance, but in that case the issue was whether the ordinance was ultra vires and ran afoul of the Dillon Rule, not whether the substance was within the discretion of the county board acting as a legislature in an area where it had authority to act.

No comments: