Some southside residents are adamantly opposed to a solid waste transfer station and recycling center that a local business wants to build.
“We don’t want to see that facility on Leffel Lane. I think it’s the worse place in the world to put a recycling center. That area out there to me should be very light commercial and light industrial,” said Ken Stone, who owns a realty company. “I don’t care what you say about recycling materials, it’s a dirty business, and I don’t see how it’s going to benefit the residents of Southgate.”
Stone was among about 40 people who attended a recent Clark County commission public meeting that allowed people a chance to learn more and voice concerns about the facility Recycle Clark County LLC has proposed building on West Leffel Lane near the UPS, 500 W. Leffel Lane.
Jessica Dewey, a spokeswoman for Recycle Clark County, said 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.”
Those who attended the meeting peppered owners of Recycle Clark County with questions about the proposed $2.5 million facility for more than an hour before commissioners voted to take the proposal and audience comments under advisement.
One man praised the owners of Recycle Clark County for wanting to invest in Springfield and bring jobs to the area, but others, including representatives from competing companies such as Rumpke, questioned the business model and whether the transfer station and recycling center would be successful.
Mike Snoddy and Kevin Dewey, co-owners of Recycle Clark County, said the facility would separate recyclable materials from trash and compact trash.
Snoddy and Dewey 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 and would create 12-14 new full-time jobs in Springfield that would pay about $10 to $20 per hour.
The co-owners said they anticipate about 12-15 trucks per day would travel to the facility, but admit they want the business to grow.
The proposed facility backs up against a residential community and is not far from Greater Grace Temple, 380 W. Leffel Lane.
If the facility moves forward, it would be among more than 60 transfer facilities in Ohio and only the second facility of its kind that is both a transfer station and a recycling center, said Heather Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
A similar facility is in Medina, Lauer said.
Lauer said transfer stations must adhere to strict EPA regulations and obtain a permit to install before they can begin operating the business.
She said the Ohio EPA has not received an application from Recycle Clark County LLC, but has been in discussions with developers.
Lauer said it’s critical for Recycle Clark County to get local support before bringing the plan to the EPA.
Stone and others said they will fight to ensure the business never opens in their community.
Dale Henry, the Clark County Democratic Party Chair and southside advocate, said he would like to see retail development such as a Kroger and other businesses move into the neighborhood.
“I understand it’s zoned properly for what they’re trying to do. But it’s in conflict with what we’re trying to do,” Henry said. “We’re open to listening to them and getting more information. But at this point we’re adamantly opposed to it.”
Alaine Voytko, who lives about a mile and half from the proposed facility, said she’s concerned about increased truck traffic.
She said trucks related to UPS, US Express and the Bob Evans distribution center are already a nuisance.
“We have extensive truck traffic already and I’m concerned about additional truck traffic in my neighborhood,” Voytko said. “Adding more heavy equipment is going to put an undue burden on the community and the township. I think that putting this additional wear and tear on our roads is excessive and unneeded.”
Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said commissioners are still gathering information.
He said the proposal fits with the county solid waste district plan that called for a public or privately owned transfer station in the community. But he said the plan would eventually have to go before the city commission for approval.
City Commissioner Joyce Chilton said she has not formed an opinion about the proposed business.
“I want to see all of the details first,” Chilton said.
Henry said the south side was the site of two former landfills that were never properly cleaned up and questioned why Recycle Clark County didn’t seek to move in a rural area.
“This is not going to be good for the south side of Springfield,” Henry said. “Here we are getting another dump. We feel as though we’re getting dumped on, and it’s not right.”