Appeals court rules in controversial construction debris case
Thursday, May 30, 2013 11:22 AM
A Madison County judge was correct in dismissing claims that a Des Moines construction debris recycling company improperly used its material to help a farmer fill a ravine in his pasture, a panel of the Iowa Court of Appeals said in a ruling released today. The case has tormented county officials, administrative law judges, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Phoenix C & D Recycling Inc. and farmer Dan Patterson for seven years. Phoenix received permission from the DNR in 2006 to deliver recycled construction material to Patterson's farm. The goal was to fill a ravine and improve a pasture for grazing. Madison County officials claimed that Phoenix and Patterson were operating a dump and should have asked the county for a special use permit. After Madison County officials complained about the arrangement between Phoenix and Patterson, the DNR eventually revoked a permit allowing the operation in a stipulated agreement with Phoenix. After a nine-day trial in 2011, Madison County District Judge Brad McCall dismissed the county's claims and dismissed counterclaims of abuse of process and slander that were brought by Phoenix and Patterson.