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Developer reaches out to landfill foes A developer of a proposed 342 acre rubble fill in Cheltenham said that a bill sponsored by a state senator is discriminatory, and if residents stop fighting now he will repay the thousands of dollars they spent to defeat a proposal 10 years ago. William Natter, president of Cross Road Trail Inc., said he is willing to repay the Mattaponi Basin Civic Association the $50,000 the members spent to defeat an application for a smaller rubble fill application 10 years ago. However, if the citizens continue with their fight to prohibit the landfill, the offer is off the table. "We are before you again for another local Prince George's County land use issue, so if you are going to consider this, you are going to have to put on your land use hat again," Natter said to the hearing committee. It is unprecedented. It's unwarranted intrusion on the county's special exception process." Natter opposed two bills sponsored by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D Dist. 27) of Clinton. Miller sponsored two bills in an effort to curtail an increased number of rubble fills in the county. At a hearing with Cross Road Trail Inc. and the civic association last year, Miller told the standing room only group that residents will begin to see legislation at the state level targeting rubble fills. At an environmental matters hearing of the Maryland General Assembly on Feb. 22, Natter said that the legislation first introduced by state delegates targets only his application. Earlier that month, two bills were sponsored by Dels. James E. Proctor Jr. (D Dist. 27A) of Brandywine and Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D Dist. 27) of Upper Marlboro in the Prince George's County delegation of the assembly. Currently there are four special exceptions for rubble fills before the county; however, some zones do not require a special exception to operate a rubble fill. The special exceptions are for four rubble applications. Brandywine Enterprises has applied for 167 acres at routes 381 and 382 in Brandywine, Maryland Reclamation LLC applied for 131 acres near the Brown Station Landfill, Cross Road Trail Inc. applied for 342 acres in Cheltenham, and Ritchie Land Reclamation applied for 288 acres off Ritchie Marlboro Road. If passed, the bills would required a majority vote of 75 percent from the District Council before a rubble fill application is granted, and once a developer has been denied, the developer cannot continue to reapply for a special exception at the same location. "It [the bill] makes it a little more difficult for an applicant to get a special exception on a piece of land that has been previously denied by the zoning council," Proctor said. "We felt it is not fair for the citizens to go through the process twice. If the applicant had won, the citizens would have been through with it. But the citizens won, so the applicants came back again to try and carry the process through. . It presents an unfair burden on the citizens in the area." Under county guidelines, when a developer has been denied, the developer can reapply after two or four yeas have passed. "All this money could be washed away," Clark Aist said. "If a rubble landfill is denied, it only means that it is deferred." Aist said that the bills would level the playing field, because once denied, it's over. Natter said that these two bills penalize his application unnecessarily. "It penalizes the single application for a rubble landfill in Prince George's County, which includes African American owners in a county whose majority population is comprised of African Americans," Natter said. "I think it is odd that we are the ones that have African American participation, but yet we are the ones that are trying to be killed right here in the state legislature," Natter said. "We feel this is contract steering. It is inappropriate." The three African American partners are Arthur Horne, Vesharn Scales and Ervin Reid. The only other opponent to the bills was Mary Murphy, who lives on Cross Road Trail. She admitted that 10 years ago she opposed developer Blake R. Van Leer's application for a more than 200 acre rubble fill operation. She said that she does not want a rubble fill in her neighborhood, but when Natter and his group reapplied, Murphy decided to reevaluate her decision. "I am opposed to house bills 826 and 853 because this is a zoning issue," Murphy said. "If this was to happen in the work place, it would be looked as disparative treatment. You cannot single out one type of special exception."