Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Angelo's sues Pasco County over Dade City landfill plans

DADE CITY — Developers seeking to build a politically unpopular landfill in east Pasco County have sued the county and its zoning administrator, accusing officials of trying to block the project.

Angelo's Aggregate Materials said in a 39-page complaint filed Monday that the county acted in a "concerted effort" to stop the landfill by holding up applications until officials could change the rules to make it more difficult for a landfill to be built east of Dade City. The lawsuit also said the actions were done "intentionally without proper motive or a rational basis" and that the county had acted in bad faith in its dealings with the Largo-based company.

Attorneys for Angelo's could not be reached Tuesday. County Zoning Administrator Debra Zampetti, who was named as a defendant, also could not be reached. County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said the county had not received a copy of the lawsuit and declined to comment.

In the complaint, attorneys for Angelo's describe an orchestrated attempt to derail the proposed landfill that would eventually cover 1,000 acres near the Green Swamp, which feeds drinking water sources of nearby areas. The project was opposed by environmental groups, nearby landowners and public officials in neighboring cities and rejected for a permit by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

When the company first proposed the landfill in 2006 to help solve the county's growing garbage problem, Pasco officials were receptive and told executives to pursue county conditional use permits, the lawsuit said. It also said executives were told the property's zoning allowed for a household garbage landfill. The company also went ahead and applied for state environmental permits as county officials requested, even though most projects typically get county approval first.

However, the county's support waned after officials signed a contract to transport garbage to an Osceola County landfill, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also quotes County Commissioner Ted Schrader, whose district covers east Pasco, as saying he opposed the project.

It said Schrader spoke publicly "that the county could and should deny" Angelo's permit applications. It cites several newspaper stories, including the St. Petersburg Times, in which Schrader refers to Angelo's proposal as a nonissue and quoted him at a campaign rally saying "Rest assured that I will vote 'no' when it comes before us because it is not the right thing to do."

Schrader declined to comment Tuesday on the lawsuit, but called Angelo's decision to buy the land without required permits in hand "a poor business decision."

"No one forced them to buy that land," he said.

By 2009, with little notice to Angelo's, the company said, county staff approved changes to the county's long-term growth plan: Now landfills for household garbage can only be built on land designated as public or semipublic. Angelo's property is agricultural/residential.

The changes were approved at a meeting of top staff that prompted a vacationing land-use attorney to fly back to Dade City to log in the company's objections. They later received approval from commissioners and the state Department of Community Affairs. During that time, the lawsuit alleged that zoning administrator Zampetti had put the applications for county permits "on hold," which the rules don't allow her to do.

Angelo's said it has spent more $30 million on developing its proposed landfill "to its detriment" because the county changed the rules midstream. County records show it spent about $15 million buying the land off Old Lakeland Highway near Messick Road.

Angelo's asks a court to order the county to process Angelo's application, pay its costs and prevent the county from saying the company's zoning forbids a landfill. "Angelo's will continue to suffer irreparable harm if a permanent injunction is not granted," it said.

Carl Roth, a leader of the anti-landfill group Protectors of Florida's Legacy, said the lawsuit was proof of Angelo's persistence. The company is also appealing DEP's rejection of its permit application. The case is pending before an administrative law judge.

"They're basically thinking the court system is going to allow them to do whatever they want to do, which is kind of surprising," Roth said.

Staff writer Molly Moorhead contributed to this report. Lisa Buie can be reached at (813) 909-4604 or

Angelo's sues Pasco County over Dade City landfill plans 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101