Browning-Ferris Industries of Kansas City, Inc. v. Dance, BROWNING-FERRIS

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Citation671 S.W.2d 801
Decision Date24 April 1984
PartiesINDUSTRIES OF KANSAS CITY, INC., Appellant, v. Sue DANCE, et al., Respondents. 34533.

Page 801

671 S.W.2d 801
Sue DANCE, et al., Respondents.
No. WD 34533.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.
April 24, 1984.

Page 804

James W. Farley, Farley, for appellant.

Kenneth D. Hassler, Pros. Atty., Platte City, for respondents.

Before CLARK, P.J., and DOWD and REINHARD, Special Judges.

REINHARD, Special Judge.

Plaintiff appeals from an order of the trial court upholding the validity of an order of the Platte County Court establishing rules, regulations, standards and licensing of sanitary landfills.

On March 9, 1982, the Platte County Court adopted a comprehensive order regulating sanitary landfills. The order provided that all landfills operated within Platte County in any area subject to county zoning shall be licensed by the County Court in accordance with the following provisions:

Section one sets forth four categories of landfills: (A) demolition and construction waste landfills which shall accept only solid demolition wastes, construction wastes, brush, wood, tires, inert plastics, soil, rock, concrete and non-decomposable inert solids insoluble in water; (B) solid waste sanitary landfills which shall accept only materials acceptable in a demolition and construction waste landfill and all residential, agricultural and commercial solid waste (garbage, trash and refuse), bulk waste, dead animals and incinerator residues and other non-hazardous solid wastes that do not require special approval in a special waste landfill; (C) special waste landfills which shall accept only materials acceptable in a solid waste landfill and the following wastes by permit issued by the County Health Department; bulk liquids, semi-solids, sludges; highly flammable or volatile substances, unexpended pesticide containers, pesticides, raw animal manure, septic tank pumpings, raw sewage sludge, industrial process sludge and any other special waste which requires special handling as defined by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. No toxic hazardous waste, radioactive material or explosives shall be accepted; (D) hazardous waste landfills which shall accept only materials determined to be toxic or hazardous under the terms of the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law, Section 260.350, et seq. RSMo. 1978.

The regulation also requires that the design and operation of a landfill be in accordance with the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and the Department of Natural Resource Regulations.

Section 2 of the order provides that:

"Inspectors designated or appointed by the County Court or County Health Department

Page 805

are authorized to enter the landfill at any time to inspect it to determine compliance with these regulations. Inspectors are authorized to take samples of materials being dumped or earth for testing and analysis necessary to determine compliance and to detect violations. Upon request such samples shall be divided equally with the landfill operator or his representative.

The costs of analyzing samples and any other related expense, including the cost of inspection shall be paid for by the County, to be reimbursed to the County by the operator of the landfill upon being billed by the County."

Section 3 provides that the County Health Department and/or Zoning Enforcement officers and/or Inspectors appointed by the County Court are authorized to enforce the provisions of the regulations and the prosecuting attorney is authorized to bring actions in accordance with Section 260.240, RSMo. 1978 for any violation of the rules and regulations.

Section 4 provides that any one operating a demolition and construction waste landfill or solid waste sanitary landfill shall file with the County Court a statement of its charges which can only be increased upon application to the County Court. A conspicuous sign stating what wastes are acceptable, the charges and hours of operation shall be posted at the entrance of the landfill.

Section 5 provides that applications for a permit to operate a landfill shall include a designation of the category of landfill to be operated, name and address of applicant, location and proof of zoning approval that allows the type of the proposed landfill and shall be accompanied by a fee of $25.00. Prior to issuance or renewal of a permit, the applicant shall obtain approval in accordance with Missouri Law, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Health or other county or state agencies charged with regulation of the type of landfill proposed. The County Court shall not issue a license unless it is satisfied that the proposed landfill: (1) meets all state and county regulations; (2) cannot reasonably be expected to cause pollution of the land, air or waters of the state; and (3) will not create a public nuisance, traffic or health hazard. In the case of an existing landfill in operation at the time of passage of the order, the County Court shall issue a license in an authorized category. All licenses shall expire one year after issuance. The County Court may revoke any license after reasonable notice and hearing if it finds that the landfill is not operating as required by these regulations.

Section 6 relates to zoning provisions for landfills.

Section 7 provides that copies of records required by Missouri regulations shall be provided to the County Health Department; that operators of landfills shall provide to the County Health Department records of the type of waste and origin of all wastes received upon request; and annually shall file with the Recorder of Deeds either a detailed description or a licensed surveyor's plat showing the general type and location of wastes, depth of fill and upon closing of a landfill, this information and the location of leachate or gas control facilities.

Section 8 provides that all vehicles transporting waste materials on the public roads shall be constructed and operated so as to prevent any of the contents from falling, blowing or leaking from the vehicle during transportation.

Section 9 provides that violations of these regulations shall be punishable as provided in Section 260.240(2), RSMo.1978.

Section 11 provides that the words and terms used in this regulation are intended to be compatible with the provisions of Chapter 64 and Chapter 260, RSMo. and regulations issued thereunder by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and for a savings clause.

The order became effective on March 24, 1982, 15 days after its passage.

Plaintiff, a landfill operator in Platte County, filed a declaratory judgment action on March 19, 1982, seeking a judicial declaration that the order was invalid. Among

Page 806

other points raised, plaintiff contended that section two was enacted in violation of Mo. Const. Article X, § 16, et seq. (amended 1980) (Hancock Amendment). On August 9, 1982, a hearing was held and plaintiff presented evidence in support of its petition. Defendants contend that on September 13, 1982, while the case was still under submission, section 2 of the order relating to the imposition of inspection charges was repealed by the County Court and a new section (with slight modifications) was adopted, subject to a majority approval of the voters of Platte County pursuant to the Hancock Amendment as follows:

"All reasonable, actual and necessary costs of inspection, including analysis of samples, authorized by the County Court or County Health Department under the Platte County Landfill Rules and Regulations shall be paid to the County as a service charge fee by the operator of each landfill upon being billed therefore by the Clerk of the County Court. All such fees shall be paid before any landfill license may be renewed."

On the same date, defendants contend that subsection four of the order was amended to eliminate the requirement that landfill charges could not be increased except upon approval of the county court. However, no orders reflecting the September 13, 1982 County Court action were ever introduced into evidence.

On December 13, 1982, the parties filed a joint stipulation in the trial court that on November 2, 1982, the voters of Platte County approved the proposition recited above, relating to inspection charges by a vote of 10,442 to 2,414. On December 29, 1982, the trial court filed findings of fact and conclusions of law holding that all sections of the order were valid. This appeal ensued.

Even though the parties have not raised a question as to our jurisdiction, we, of course, must sua sponte examine the record to determine whether we have jurisdiction of this appeal. New Style Homes, Inc. v. Fletcher, 600 S.W.2d 634, 635 (Mo.App.1980). If the resolution of this appeal requires a construction of the revenue laws of this state, exclusive appellate jurisdiction is vested in the Supreme Court. Mo. Const. Art. V, § 3 (amended 1982).

In determining whether construction of the revenue laws is at issue, the Supreme Court has held that: (1) the law to be construed must be a state law; (2) that it makes no difference where the law is to be found in the statutes, whether under the title of "revenue" or any other title, so long as it relates to the subject matter of revenue; (3) that the revenue must be directly and primarily concerned, not merely indirectly or as an incident; and (4) the term "revenue law", as used in the Constitution, covers and includes laws relating to the disbursement of the revenue and its preservation, as well as its assessment, levy and collection. State ex rel. Martin v. Childress, 345 Mo. 495, 134 S.W.2d 136, 138 (1939).

We have concluded that we need not construe the revenue laws of this state to resolve this appeal. The Platte County Court order authorizing the collection of charges from landfill operators is not a state law and as will become readily apparent, the state statutes relating to landfills at issue in this case are not primarily revenue laws. Regardless of whether the Hancock Amendment...

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