Clark County commissioners voted to support a controversial proposal by a local developer to establish a solid waste transfer station and recycling center in the area.
Commissioners voted 2-0 in favor of the project weeks after residents in and around the Southgate neighborhood attended a public meeting and objected to having the facility in their neighborhood.
Officials said their vote simply indicates that the project fits with the Clark County Solid Waste District’s waste management plan ratified last year that calls for a district to consider establishing a private or publicly owned transfer station in the community.
Commissioners John Detrick and Rick Lohnes said those concerned about the location of the facility will have a chance to voice their concerns with the city zoning board and city commissioners.
“There were good comments made (at the public meeting) about increased traffic and the location, and there were invalid comments made about what the facility will be like. But our vote today was to say this is consistent with the (Solid Waste) plan. Whether or not it happens and where it happens is beyond our control,” Lohnes said.
Recycle Clark County LLC wants to build a $2.5 million solid waste transfer station and recycling center that would separate recyclable materials from trash and compact trash near the UPS, 500 W. Leffel Lane.
If approved by the city, the business would create 12-14 new full-time jobs that would pay about $10 to $20 per hour.
But residents in and around the Southgate neighborhood told commissioners earlier this month they are adamantly opposed to the facility on West Leffel Lane, citing increased truck traffic and concerns about its impact on future economic development in the neighborhood.
Two of the biggest critics of the proposed plan at a public meeting earlier this month were Southgate residents Dale Henry and Ken Stone.
Henry said on Wednesday that neighborhood leaders plan to bring their fight against this project to city leaders.
“We on the south side are pretty much still in strong opposition to this proposal,” Henry said, adding that a better location for the project is one of the county’s industrial parks.
Henry said the proposed transfer station and recycling center goes against efforts to attract retail and other business to the south side.
“This is all about property values and our ability to control the amount of damage that’s done by a facility of this nature. We’ll be doing everything we can to show more of a collective opposition to the project. It’s not right for our area,” Henry said.
Co-owners of the business said transfer stations and recycling centers are heavily regulated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and would not be an environmental nuisance.
They also said the facility would fill a void for area haulers when the North Transfer Facility in Vandalia closes in 2014.
Snoddy and Dewey also said they anticipate about 12-15 trucks per day would travel to the facility, but admit they want the business to grow.
Jessica Dewey, a spokeswoman for Recycle Clark County, told residents at the public meeting that the facility is not a landfill and urged those with questions to talk with the business owners.
“It is a transfer station that is heavily regulated and completely enclosed,” Dewey said. “This is an opportunity to be an environmentally ethical and responsible alternative for solid waste management in Clark County. It is not a dump.”
Commissioner Detrick said he supports the project because the recycling center will be a plus for Clark County and will not impact the contiguous neighborhood.
“It’s recycling material, not trash,” Detrick said. “It would be a good step forward for us … It’s creation of jobs, it’s going green and it will have no negative effect on the neighborhood. That’s three pluses. I see no minuses to it.”
Commissioner David Hartley was ill and did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.
County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said commissioners will not play a role in deciding where the proposed facility can be built.
“Our role was just to say does this comply with our plan. It does. It is in our best interest as a county to have a transfer station,” Kennedy said. “It’s location is an issue for the city to decide.”