Merced County is still working to settle a lawsuit filed last year by a local company upset with a county ban on residential development near the Highway 59 landfill.
If no resolution is reached by May 7, the matter could go to a judge.
Bull Field, LLC, which owns property near the landfill, filed the lawsuit last August. The company and the county have been working since January to reach a settlement agreement.
So far, no agreement has been finalized, the county’s lead attorney, James Fincher, said. “We’re still working on it,” he said. “That’s all we can really say.”
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The lawsuit stems from a recent expansion at the landfill, which serves as the county’s main solid-waste dumping ground.
Officials proposed the expansion more than a decade ago. After environmental studies on the proposal, the county agreed to create a half-mile buffer zone around the expansion site.
But instead of buying land for the buffer zone or paying landowners for development rights, the county passed a resolution in May 2007 banning residential development in the half-mile surrounding the dump.
Bull Field, a sizable property owner near the landfill, argues that it’s illegal for the county to restrict the use of private land without compensating landowners. The company runs a 1,600-acre almond orchard near the landfill. It owns about 60 acres that are affected by the county’s resolution and leases several hundred acres more.