Compost facility proposal to get hearing

Jefferson Twp. residents have opposed Rauch plan for land.

The Jefferson Township Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing for a proposed controversial composting facility that could be placed at 7750 Dayton Farmersville Road.

The hearing will be 7 p.m. July 17. Township officials were still looking for a venue that could hold the expected large crowd.

In May, Steve Rauch, property owner and owner of an excavation and demolition business called SRI Inc., 1550 Soldiers Home-West Carrollton Road, and his business partner Daniel Wampler of Mason, submitted a conditional use request to the Jefferson Township trustees for the composting facility and two greenhouses.

If approved, the proposed business would be called KOTE (Keepers of the Earth) Organic Farms and take in waste, including fruit and vegetable cut-outs and tea leaves from food processing companies, according to Wampler.

The compost created would then be sold.

BZA decisions cannot be appealed to township trustees; instead appeals must go to the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, according to Jeffrey Payne, township zoning director.

Residents who have spoken publicly at recent meetings about the subject have made it clear that this facility is not wanted in the township.

Part of the concern has to do with the perception in the community that if Rauch is allowed to put in the composting facility, it will eventually make way for a potential landfill area.

“The way I’m seeing that this is going to work: compost center moves in, Steve is going to file for solid waste,” said Willie Wall as he addressed township trustees during their July 1 meeting.

Paul Ogg, township resident, asked trustees to enact legislation that would prevent certain facilities from moving into the community.

Jim McGuire, township resident, suggested that residents work to get the issue on the ballot.

Most of the residents who have spoken publicly about the facility have criticized Rauch and the way he keeps his business property at the Soldiers Home-West Carrollton address.

Residents have complained to township trustees that Rauch uses both the Dayton Farmersville Road address and the Soldiers Home-West Carrollton address as dumping grounds.

Rauch already has a registered class four composting facility at the Soldiers Home-West Carrollton address, according to the Ohio EPA. A class four composting facility has source separated yard waste, according to the Ohio EPA.

The SRI website states that the business is a construction and demolition landfill.

Items accepted for disposal include furniture, food waste, siding, roofing and household trash. The business states it does not accept asbestos, chemicals or tires.

“It’s an active license, but there is nothing going on with the composting facility here,” said Jennifer Copeland, SRI’s operations manager.

Ohio EPA has at least three notices of violation letters for SRI. The letters were dated May 20, 2009, April 17, 2013 and Aug. 15, 2013 and were not addressed to Rauch. One was addressed to Roger Cowden, a former employee, and the others were addressed to Copeland.

The violations mentioned in the letters had to do with the company failing to submit plan view drawings for the composting facility and annual reports.

Copeland said all the issues mentioned in all the letters were resolved. Dina Pierce, an Ohio EPA spokeswoman, could not immediately verify if the issues were resolved.

Last month, Pierce told the Dayton Daily News that the Ohio EPA has the authority to shut down a composting facility with ongoing violations, but the process is a lengthy legal one. She added that the EPA’s main focus is to bring facilities back into compliance.