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Waste transfer station to seek Springfield approval

Opponents want to stop or force center to move.Owner says project will add jobs and benefit environment.

The local developers of a planned $2.5 million solid waste transfer station and recycling center on the city’s south side will begin the process of planning and zoning approval next month.

Southgate residents who oppose the proposal, however, say they’ve begun a campaign to stop or move the development.

Last week, county commissioners voted to support the project as fitting into the Clark County Solid Waste District’s waste management plan.

Mike Snoddy, the co-owner of Recycle Clark County LLC, said Monday the company now will look to receive city approval before seeking approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Snoddy plans to meet with city commissioners this week to provide more details about the project.

“We’re looking for the county and city to get behind us because it’s a good thing for everybody,” Snoddy said.

The facility would separate recyclable materials from trash and compact trash near the UPS, 500 W. Leffel Lane. If approved, it would create 12 to 14 full-time jobs that would pay $10 to $20 per hour.

If approved, Snoddy said they’d like to have the facility open in time for the holidays next year.

The next step for the developers is to apply for a conditional use permit from the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, according to Bryan Heck, the city’s planning and zoning administrator.

They’ll likely appear before the BZA on Jan. 22. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the City Hall forum, 76 E. High St. The plan hasn’t been submitted yet, but they plan to apply before the Monday deadline to be added to the January agenda.

The plans do not have to be approved by the city commission, Heck said.

City staff will make a recommendation on the conditional use but won’t have any discussions until a formal application is received. The developers have been in contact with them, Heck said.

The vacant parcel on West Leffel Lane is currently zoned as an M-1 General Manufacturing district, which does include a solid waste transfer station.

The BZA looks at certain criteria for granting a conditional use permit, Heck said, but a recommendation can’t be made until site plans become available.

“I haven’t seen a site plan,” Heck said. “Until I have a site plan, I can’t really make observations of how it fits.”

The property is approximately 10.29 acres and sits approximately 140 feet from the nearest residential property in the Southgate neighborhood.

Developers said the facility would not be an environmental nuisance and could fill the void left by the closing of the North Transfer facility in Vandalia next month. The center will provide “an innovative, responsible alternative” to sending waste to the landfill and will “benefit generations to come,” according to a press release from Recycle Clark County.

South side residents have opposed the plan at public meetings in recent weeks, citing traffic concerns and its impact on future economic development.

Dale Henry, a former city commissioner, said one of the neighborhood’s biggest challenges has to do with the perception of the south side. He said they’d like to bring more retail investment to the area.

“If this recycling center goes there, it won’t be a positive for us,” Henry said. “We’re more united than we’ve ever been against this project.”

Henry is also interested in possibly moving the development to another location zoned for that type of operation.

The campaign will include residents from all over the city, Henry said. They plan to attend the meeting next month.

The Ohio EPA has not received an application but has spoken with developers, said Heather Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio has more than 60 transfer facilities, but there’s only one other facility that is both a transfer station and a recycling center, and that is located in Medina.

Transfer stations must obtain a permit to install before they can begin operating the business, Lauer said, and will also need an annual license to operate. The facility may also have public hearings with the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency.

She said if owners file for a permit to install, public meetings could be held for citizens to voice their opinion on the facility; however, they can’t consider non-environmental issues such as damage to roadways or lowering property values.

“None of those things are things we can consider,” Lauer said.

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