Sawyer v. Reheis, A94A0044

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Writing for the CourtMcMURRAY; POPE, C.J., and SMITH
Citation213 Ga.App. 727,445 S.E.2d 837
PartiesSAWYER et al. v. REHEIS et al.
Docket NumberNo. A94A0044,A94A0044
Decision Date30 June 1994

Page 837

445 S.E.2d 837
213 Ga.App. 727
SAWYER et al.
REHEIS et al.
No. A94A0044.
Court of Appeals of Georgia.
June 30, 1994.

Page 838

[213 Ga.App. 731] Troutman Sanders, Norman L. Underwood, Howard L. Sharfstein, Hollister A. Hill, Atlanta, for appellants.

Michael J. Bowers, Atty. Gen., Robert S. Bomar, Senior Asst. Atty. Gen., Brenda H. Cole, Asst. Atty. Gen., William H. Mills, E. Tracy Moulton, Jr., Blakely, for appellees.

[213 Ga.App. 727] McMURRAY, Presiding Judge.

Harold F. Reheis, Director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, issued a permit for Early County and the City of Blakely, Georgia, to operate a municipal solid waste landfill. Fred Sawyer, Eric Jarrett, Mack Jarrett, and Richard Coates ("the citizens"), filed a petition pursuant to OCGA § 12-2-2(c)(2) for administrative review of that decision, alleging that the landfill authorized by the Director's permit was too close to a nearby airport, contrary to criteria established by Rule 391-3-4-.05(1)(c)(1) of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia ("Rule 5"). Specifically, the citizens point out that Rule 5 provides that "[t]he following criteria must be met for a site proposed as a solid waste handling facility: ... New [municipal solid waste landfill] units or lateral expansions of existing units shall not be located within 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) of any public-use or private-use airport runway end used by turbojet aircraft or within 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) of any public-use or private-use airport runway end used by only piston-type aircraft." Further, they also show that Rule 5(1)(c)(2) requires owners and operators of existing landfill units to "demonstrate that the units are designed and operated so that the [landfill] units do not pose a bird hazard to aircraft" and that, for purposes of Airport Safety within the meaning of Rule 5(1)(c), the term " 'Bird hazard' means an increase in the likelihood of bird/aircraft collisions that may cause damage to the aircraft or injury to its occupants." Rule 5(1)(c)(5)(iii).

At the evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), the following undisputed material facts were adduced: Coates owns a small airfield approximately 7,800 feet from the site of the [213 Ga.App. 728] proposed landfill, from which he operates a crop-dusting business. Coates is not rated by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a jet. As manufactured, the plane Coates flies was a piston-driven propeller plane. Coates modified it so that now it is a turbine-driven propeller plane, i.e., a turboprop as opposed to a turbojet.

The opinions of aviation engineers differed as to whether the features of a turboprop engine made it more like a "turbojet" or a "piston-type" aircraft. The ALJ found persuasive the distinctions made by Professor John J. Harper, Professor Emeritus of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Professor Harper deposed that "for the purpose of bird strike protection, the engine design of a turboprop has far more in common with a turbojet than it does with a piston-type propeller driven aircraft." In Professor Harper's opinion, the "engine design on inlet air is the decisive variable which establishes the relative susceptibility of that type of aircraft to catastrophic failure resulting from bird strikes." He concluded that "the large air intake demands of a turboprop are equivalent to the air intake requirements of turbojet and turbofan engines, [and] for the purpose of bird strike protection, the

Page 839

engine design of a turboprop requires the same degree of protection to guard against the interruption of combustion air as is required by the turbojet and other turbine-powered aircraft." The ALJ determined that Coates' turboprop plane subjected the proposed landfill to the more stringent 10,000-foot separation distance required for landfill sites near an airport runway used by turbojet aircraft. Consequently, the ALJ held that Director Reheis improperly issued this permit because the proposed site is too close to Coates' runway.

The Director, Early County, and the City of Blakely, Georgia, appealed this administrative ruling to the superior court. The superior court reversed, ruling that the ALJ's "conclusions of law are beyond his statutory authority; are clearly erroneous...

To continue reading

Request your trial
28 cases
  • Professional Standards Com'n v. Alberson, No. A05A0163.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 19 Abril 2005
    ...whether the record supports the final decision of the ... administrative agency." (Citations and punctuation omitted.) Sawyer v. Reheis, 213 Ga.App. 727, 729(1), 445 S.E.2d 837 (1994).s...
  • Gwinnett County v. Lake Lanier Ass'n, No. A03A2340
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 16 Enero 2004
    ...... administrative agency." (Citations omitted.) Emory Univ. v. Levitas, 260 Ga. 894, 898(1), 401 S.E.2d 691 (1991); Sawyer v. Reheis, 213 Ga.App. 727, 729(1), 445 S.E.2d 837 (1994). In this case, the record supported the ALJ's findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding notice and pu......
  • Primerica Financial Services, Inc. v. Wise, s. A94A2290
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 14 Marzo 1995
    ...evidence on questions of fact and would be required to confirm the award if there was any evidence to support it. See Sawyer v. Reheis, 213 Ga.App. 727(1), 445 S.E.2d 837 (1994). Under these circumstances, we do not find the provision violative of the FAA or public policy and therefore agre......
  • C&M Enters. of Ga., LLC v. Williams, A18A0240
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 1 Junio 2018
    ...on the will alone; absolutely in power; capriciously; tyrannical; despotic.") (citation and punctuation omitted); Sawyer v. Reheis , 213 Ga. App. 727, 730 (2), 445 S.E.2d 837 (1994) (Where the record demonstrates that the ALJ had a rational basis for his or her ultimate determination, the r......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT