110 F.3d 699 (9th Cir. 1997), 95-17264, Individuals for Responsible Government, Inc. v. Washoe County By and Through the Bd. of County Com'rs

Docket Nº:95-17264.
Citation:110 F.3d 699
Party Name:97 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2443, 97 Daily Journal D.A.R. 4367 INDIVIDUALS FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT, INC., a non-profit Nevada corporation; Janice Buse; Hilary Burson; June Link, individuals, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. WASHOE COUNTY, By and through the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS of the County of Washoe; Dianne Cornwall, Chairman; Larry Beck, Vice C
Case Date:April 01, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 699

110 F.3d 699 (9th Cir. 1997)

97 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2443,

97 Daily Journal D.A.R. 4367

INDIVIDUALS FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT, INC., a non-profit

Nevada corporation; Janice Buse; Hilary Burson;

June Link, individuals, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

WASHOE COUNTY, By and through the BOARD OF COUNTY

COMMISSIONERS of the County of Washoe; Dianne Cornwall,

Chairman; Larry Beck, Vice Chairman; Gene McDowell; Steve

Bradhurst; Independent Sanitation Co., Inc., a Nevada

corporation, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 95-17264.

United States Court of Appeals,Ninth Circuit.

April 1, 1997

Submitted [*] Feb. 14, 1997.

Page 700

Marc Picker, Reno, Nevada, for the plaintiffs-appellants.

Melanie Foster, Deputy District Attorney, Reno, Nevada; Frank Cassas, Marshall Hill Cassas & de Lipkau, Reno, Nevada, for the defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Edward C. Reed, Jr., District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-94-00526-ECR.

Before SNEED, LEAVY, and THOMAS, Circuit Judges.

SNEED, Circuit Judge:

As happens from time-to-time, this is a case with simple facts whose resolution involves complex legal doctrines. In 1991 and 1992, defendant/appellee Washoe County enacted ordinances that, inter alia, require residents in certain unincorporated areas of the County to subscribe to a garbage collection and disposal service offered by defendant/appellee Independent Sanitation Co., Inc. Plaintiffs/appellants Individuals for Responsible Government, Inc., Janice Buse, Hilary Burson and June Link claim that these ordinances violate Nevada statutes and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. They also claim that the County's curbside recycling program violates the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants/appellees on all counts. We affirm.

Page 701

I.

BACKGROUND

Washoe County, Nevada, like many other environmentally concerned communities, confronts a problem stemming from the illegal dumping of trash at sites other than approved dump sites. In response to this problem, the Board of County Commissioners ("Commissioners"), in November 1991, enacted ordinance 838 to amend chapter 90 of the County Code. Ordinance 838 provides that the County and its authorized agents or contractees "have the exclusive right to gather, collect and haul garbage" in certain unincorporated areas in Washoe County. It also provides that "[e]very owner of real property who accumulates or causes the accumulation of garbage ... must subscribe to the [services for] collection, hauling and disposal of garbage" provided by the county through Independent Sanitation Co., its exclusive franchisee. 1

In April 1992 the Commissioners enacted ordinance 848, which further amends chapter 90 of the County Code. Ordinance 848 creates an exemption from mandatory subscription to Independent Sanitation's garbage service for those owners and occupants of residential dwelling units who prefer to dispose of their own garbage. To qualify for such an exemption, these residents must haul their garbage "to an approved disposal site not less than every 7 calendar days." Independent Sanitation maintains the right to bill, on a quarterly basis, those who have been exempted. However, an exempt resident need not pay the bill provided that he submits to Independent Sanitation "receipts or other proof showing that he has disposed of his garbage at an approve [sic] disposal site for each week within the previous quarter."

The enforcement of ordinances 838 and 848 encountered difficulties. Prior to their passage, approximately 12,000 of Washoe County's 16,000 rural households subscribed to Independent Sanitation's garbage service, while approximately 4000 rural residents elected to dump their own trash. There are two legal dump sites in Washoe County, Nevada: the "Lockwood" landfill, located east of Reno, and the "Reno transfer station," located in the city of Reno. Independent Sanitation and its affiliate Reno Disposal Co. maintain and operate both dump sites. Despite these legal dumping options within Washoe County, prior to enactment of ordinances 838 and 848 many county residents preferred to dispose of their household garbage in California because the dump sites in Susanville and Portola, California were more convenient and cost effective than the options available in Washoe County.

In response to ordinance 848, approximately 400 residents received exemptions from mandatory collection, allowing them to dispose of their own garbage. However, some who initially obtained exemptions later had their exemptions revoked for...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP