Town Solid Waste Ordinance Regulating Activities of Manure Composter Not Preempted by Maine Agriculture Protection Act.

The plaintiff composted horse and cow manure, horse and cow bedding, and fish waste, none of which was generated on-site. To conduct its business, the plaintiff received a conditional use permit from the town in which it was located because its use of the property was a nonconforming use. The permit required the plaintiff to submit to inspections and provide annual reports. The plaintiff refused to submit to the regulation, arguing that the town’s solid waste ordinance imposing the conditions was preempted by the Maine Agriculture Protection Act (APA), 7 M.R.S. §§ 151-163, and the Solid Waste Act (SWA), 38 M.R.S. §§ 1301-1319-Y. On appeal of the lower court’s finding that the town had acted within its authority in issuing the plaintiff a notice of violation, the Maine Supreme Court affirmed.   The Court determined that the APA's purpose was to support the viability of agriculture by ensuring that farms employing best management practices were not deemed to be public or private nuisances. The plaintiff was not a "farm" for purposes of the APA because it did not produce "agricultural products." The Court also found that the APA did not preempt the town ordinance because the Legislature had expressly allowed local regulation and thus had not expressed a clear intent to occupy the field. The ordinance did not frustrate the purpose of the APA. Furthermore, the Court ruled that the SWA did not preempt the ordinance because (1) the standards in the ordinance were not stricter than those in the SWA; (2) the ordinance's definitions were not inconsistent with those in the SWA; and (3) the ordinance's provisions did not frustrate the purpose of the SWA. Dubois Livestock, Inc. v. Town of Arundel, No. Yor-13-478, 2014 ME 122, 2014 Me. LEXIS 130 (Me. Sup. Ct. Nov. 4, 2014).

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