After the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners approved in February a zone change request by Riverbend Landfill — a decision which would allow Riverbend to move forward with a 37-acre expansion off Highway 18 near McMinnville — Waste Not of Yamhill County/Stop the Dump Coalition (SDC) has filed a notice of intent with the Land Use Board of Appeals to appeal the decision.

“The appeal to LUBA means that the commissioners’ decision-making process (will be) reviewed,” said Isla Perse, SDC president. “LUBA people can do several things; worst-case scenario for us is that LUBA says, ‘Yamhill County Commissioners made no mistakes and therefore we affirm the decision.’”

Perse said with the appeal, they are hoping LUBA will overturn the county’s decision, as they did four years ago when the board determined that Yamhill County violated the law in authorized expansion of the landfill. But they could also decide that the commissioners need to review their decision.

“After LUBA reaches a decision, the party that does not agree with their decision can appeal the whole thing to the Court of Appeals,” she said. “This is what the county and Waste Management did four years ago, and they lost at the Court of Appeals as well.”

In filing the notice of intent, more than 600 people who had sent an email, spoke at the many hearings, or wrote letters regarding the rezoning, were notified of the appeal intent.

Perse said the next step is filing the appeal, which is due 21 days after the record is certified.

“And that can’t happen until the county copies all of the documents submitted (the ‘record’) and sends the record to the attorneys,” she said. “Then we all get to look over the record.  Once all parties are satisfied that the record is complete (they have 14 days to review the record) the clock starts ticking and the actual appeal is due 21 days after that.”

She said Yamhill County has until March 20 to produce the documents, which means the appeal will not be submitted until sometime in May.

Supporters and opponents have been historically split on the issue, with opponents often citing a danger to both agriculture and wine country tourism industries. Supporters on the other hand, including organizations such as the Newberg Downtown Coalition and the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce, argue that the low disposal rates offered by the landfill are important to the success of small businesses, large corporations and trade associations alike.

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