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Dump to Pay Nuns $500,000 to Move : Oxnard: Sister Servants of Mary had complained that neighboring Bailard Landfill was hazardous.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Operators of the Bailard Landfill have agreed to pay a group of nuns who live near the Oxnard-area dump $500,000 to relocate, according to a settlement announced Thursday.

The Sister Servants of Mary, who have run their convent for 30 years, complained that the noise, dust and odor from the landfill was unhealthy and at times unbearable.

So they fought efforts by the operators this year to extend the life of the dump to 1997 and even threatened a lawsuit when local officials approved the extension in March.

But after months of negotiation, the nuns have reached an agreement with the Ventura Regional Sanitation District, said the nuns’ lawyer, Stanley E. Cohen. In addition to receiving the $500,000, the nuns can keep their property and move back after the landfill is closed, he said.

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“I think it was the best deal possible,” Cohen said. “There was an initial offer of $20,000. Now they’re getting $500,000.”

District officials could not be reached for comment.

The dump was scheduled to close last December. But the County Board of Supervisors voted in March keep it open until May, 1997. Shortly thereafter, the sisters demanded money to relocate.

The nuns originally asked the district to buy their property and find a different place for them to live.

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Instead, the district filed a lawsuit in June to force the nuns to accept $96,500 as compensation for their inconvenience. That lawsuit was dismissed, Cohen said.

Under the settlement, failure to close the dump by May, 1997, will result in the payment of $10,000 per month to the nuns for the first six months. After that, the monthly payment would increase to $15,000, Cohen said.

Mother Superior Josephine Torres of the convent said Thursday that she had not been informed of a settlement.

The convent is one of six facilities in the United States that trains nuns for the Sister Servants of Mary order. Nuns in the order take care of the homebound sick and elderly.

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