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Ohio's high court finds Rumpke not a public utility

WVXU news staff

The Ohio Supreme Court says the Rumpke landfill in Colerain Township is not a public utility and not exempt from the township's zoning authority.

The unanimous ruling from Ohio's high court overturned lower court decisions from a Hamilton County Judge and the First District Court of Appeals. 

The case started in 2006 when the Colerain Township zoning commission and the trustees denied Rumpke's request to expand its landfill facility. 

Lower courts ruled the facility was exempt from local zoning regulations because it fell within the common law legal definition of a public utility. 

But Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, who authored the opinion, said Rumpke failed to meet the public-service factor of the public-utility test. 

The court ruled the landfill is not subject to public regulation of its rates and charges, is not obligated by law or regulation to accept all solid waste delivered to it for disposal and the public does not have a right to demand and receive its services. 

 The case was sent back to the local Hamilton County Court for a second question on a constitutional issue concerning zoning 

Click to read the press release on the ruling from the court here.