Developer gives up 37-year fight for landfill near Anderson

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Developers who fought for 37 years to build a landfill near a lake and an elementary school have dropped their efforts for good.

Bex Farms Inc. and its affiliate, 600 Land Inc., have withdrawn their application to renew the landfill permit for a 13-acre site near Mallard Lake and Killbuck Elementary School, The Herald Bulletin reported Sunday.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said the application was withdrawn last week.

Activists have fought the proposed landfill since 1979, claiming the project would hurt the region's economy and environment. The Killbuck Concerned Citizens Association battled the project in administrative, trial and appeals courts, zoning hearings, the Legislature and other venues. The city of Anderson also opposed the landfill.

Their hopes waned in 2010 when landowner and developer JM Corp. obtained the permit for the landfill. After JM Corp. founder Ralph Reed died in 2012, Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Bex Farms Inc. purchased a 254-acre parcel containing the landfill site for $1.125 million, Madison County records show.

However, Bex Farms didn't intend to use the site as a landfill, spokesman Andy Drummond maintained. The company owns landfills in Greensburg, Indianapolis and Modoc.

Drummond said it was "highly unlikely" the property would be used as a landfill, so it was not in the company's best interest to commit "significant resources that would be necessary to renew the permit."

The property has never been used as a landfill, according to the parcel's former owners and legal documents.

Landfill opponent Bill Kutschera of the Killbuck Concerned Citizens Association says the landfill is now just "an ugly memory."

"It is final and IDEM has advised that current regulations would make any new application for a landfill permit at this location virtually impossible to gain approval," Kutschera said in an email.

The property has been converted back to farmland.

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