Browning-Ferris Industries, operator of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill, was ordered Tuesday by a zoning panel to comply with a 1988 permit issued by the city of Los Angeles--even though that license to dump garbage in Sunshine Canyon expired in September.
The Board of Zoning Appeals decision was hailed by foes of the landfill, who said the panel’s action ensured that the dump would remain under close scrutiny by the city. Among other things, the permit requires Browning-Ferris to replace any oak trees it has removed during the operation of the landfill.
The zoning board also ordered Browning-Ferris to pay for the costs of the city hiring an inspector to check for compliance with the permit.
But Browning-Ferris spokesman James Dukis called the panel’s ruling “a bunch of illegal actions.” The ruling is also moot, he said, because Browning-Ferris has already planted 3,000 oaks in a buffer zone around the dump “as a community gesture.”
Dukis and Browning-Ferris attorney Linda J. Bozung argued that the company is not obligated to comply with the conditions of an expired permit. But Bozung said her client welcomed city-ordered inspections anyway because the city will find that all its conditions have been met.
All garbage dumping at the landfill ceased in September when the permit expired. However, the company has secured a permit from Los Angeles County to operate a 17-million-ton dump in another portion of Sunshine Canyon, north of the dormant landfill situated in the city. That permit is being challenged in court by homeowners and the city of Los Angeles.