Jul 27, 2014
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UPDATE: Judge Strikes Down Veolia's Complaint Against Evanston

A circuit court judge struck down a complaint Veolia filed against city of Evanston in December, which alleged that the city's $2-per-ton transfer fee was unconstitutional, among other things. A spokesperson said Veolia would continue to fight the suit.

UPDATE: Judge Strikes Down Veolia's Complaint Against Evanston

In the latest round of conflict between Veolia and the city of Evanston, a judge struck down the waste transfer station’s complaint alleging that the city unfairly charged Veolia transfer fees. 

On Friday, Circuit Court Judge Lee Preston ruled that Veolia’s complaint did not meet Illinois requirements for filing a pleading, and gave the company until June 1 to file an amended complaint. 

“What this is means is for the last six months Veolia has wasted its time and wasted the court’s time,” said W. Grant Farrar, corporation counsel for the city of Evanston. 

“I’m encouraged that perhaps they may rethink whether pursuing this costly lawsuit is a good idea,” he added. “But of course, that’s up to them.” 

In a press release issued Friday evening, the company stated that Veolia "fully intends" to file an amended complaint.

"Today's ruling does not diminish Veolia's claim that the City of Evanston has violated many of the company's constitutional rights and has unfairly targeted the company's long-standing business, all with the hope of unlawfully pushing Veolia out of the city," the release said.

Veolia filed its lawsuit against the city in December, arguing that the the city council imposed on the station is unconstitutional, and that the city had unfairly harassed the company with excessive inspections and other impositions. 

Filed in February, argued that the waste transfer company’s 30-page complaint was improperly styled, according to Farrar. In his ruling Friday, Judge Preston supported the city’s argument, also noting the lawsuit’s length.

Veolia’s lawsuit over the $2 transfer fee and claims of harassment is just one of several between the city and Veolia. The waste transfer station was found guilty of multiple violations of Evanston’s noise and nuisance ordinances in administrative hearings last summer. Veolia has appealed those rulings in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie.  

“We’re still in the extremely early stages on those as well,” Farrar told Patch.

Evanston and Veolia have a long history of conflict, with several residents and some aldermen speaking out against the waste transfer station. Last August, against a proposed expansion, and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl .

Their concerns stem from the site's proximity to a residential neighborhood. While the Environmental Protection Agency forbids construction of a garbage control facility within 1,000 feet of the nearest residential property, Veolia's waste transfer station in Evanston was constructed before the statute was made, and therefore, the site is exempt.

"Residents and the city are here today to speak on the injustice of having a waste transfer station operating in a predominantly residential area of the city and the station’s negative impact upon the residents as well as the community as a whole,” Mayor Tisdahl said at a press conference at the waste transfer station March 16.

"We know that there have been residents on Darrow Ave. who have complained year, after year about the rodents and the smell," Ald. Delores Holmes said in that press conference. "We need to address this social injustice."

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