Rockville officials are considering legal action to force the closing of a county dump located within the city. Such a move would toss yet another monkey wrench into Montgomery County's already frustrated efforts to dispose of its trash.
At a City Council meeting held earlier this week, Rockville officials blasted the county's plan to continue dumping at the Gude/Southlawn landfill on Gude Drive. The county is under the state order to abandon the landfill by next year.
The county had planned to replace the Rockville site with a new landfill already under construction in Laytonsville. However, that move is being opposed by Laytonsville community leaders, who have filed suit to prevent further construction. The county is also appealing a judge's decision upholding a charter amendment approved in 1978 that prohibits the county from spending money to operate a landfill on land zoned for residential use.
County officials told the Rockville lawmakers Monday night that some County Council members are under "tremendous political pressure" from Laytonsville residents to abandon the project. That would leave the county with no alternative than to continue operating the Rockville site.
Mayor William E. Hanna Jr. said the city will not let that happen. "Rockville has been put upon far beyond the extra mile. We will resist attempts to extend the life of Gude if we think the commitment to close the landfill is being overturned because of a relatively small number of citizens in that (Laytonsville) area."
Jerome Leszkiewicz, director of the office of environmental construction, said the city "reluctantly agreed" in 1972 to allow expansion of the Gude Drive landfill because the county promised to abandon it in 1976 and convert the site into a park.
The 1976 closing date was not met, Leskiewicz said, because no suitable alternative site was found.
"We're on a collision course of meeting the (1981 state-imposed) deadline now," Leszkiewicz said.
He told the City Council the county now intends to shut down the Gude site in early 1982 unless the state enforces the 1981 closing date. He said he believes the lawsuits will not rule out the Laytonsville site, but only force the county to make modifications to the $40 million facility. The suits, he said, should be settled within nine months.