Community push-back to the proposed permit modifications allowing Jurgensen-owned Enon Sand & Gravel Company to dig deeper and expand their existing sand and gravel pits continued to be a topic of discussion when the Mad River Township Trustees met on April 3 in the Mad River Township Hall.
Township Trustees Kathy Estep, Joe Catanzaro, and Bob McClure met in the regular session. Fiscal Officer, David Rudy, was also present.
The trustees agreed that they felt the special meeting the township held on March 27 to discuss the changes Enon Sand & Gravel wants to make to its existing permits went well, but they feel things are still “vague” and that their questions were not really answered. Catanzaro commented how he felt residents appreciated having an opportunity to have their voices heard. Estep says she did not hear anything that night to change her position against the permit modifications.
McClure says he believes the concerns being raised today about the quarry were also voiced in the 1970’s, but the county went ahead and approved the Platt anyway. Now he feels that the county is telling the township to take care of the problem the county essentially created.
Catanzaro comments, “As a county, I believe we should stick together and never let anyone interfere with our public water, whether it be in our township or anyone else’s. This problem, this pit, seems like it is going to affect (our water). The information we received the other night still didn’t give any reason to support it.”
Estep read a letter the trustees will be sending to the ODNR’s Chief of the Division of Mineral Resources. Lanny Erdos, stating why the township opposes allowing modifications to be made to Enon Sand & Gravel’s current mining permit. The 10 concerns addressed in the letter include:
1) Problems with local zoning and differences in the residential area compared to 1977 when the existing permit was issued
2) The possible impact to the water table and private wells. The hydrologist who regularly works with Enon says the information provided by the mining company regarding individual wells was either missing or incorrect, and that the modeling provided to the township had serious problems as well.
3) Increased heavy-truck traffic leading to safety problems and break-down of roads.
4) Potential air quality problems were not addressed OEPA or RAPCA.
5) Possible flooding issues to downstream properties as 220 gallons of water per minute is pumped into Mud Run due to the de-watering necessary to mine limestone. Those issues have not been addressed by any regulatory agency.
6) The impact on water quality in Mud Run, a part of the Little Miami Watershed. Again, those problems have not been addressed by regulatory agencies.
7) The potential damage to homes and Greenon Jr./Sr. High School due to blasting.
8) Concerns voiced by the OEPA about possible bacterial water contamination to 48 public water system wells within a 5-mile radius of the site, due to karst limestone formations. Those concerns have not even been discussed by Enon Sand & Gravel.
9) Property values plummeting if the modifications to the quarry are made, including a large expansion, which will negatively affect the township’s tax base.
10) The proposed permit modifications are a direct violation of the Mad River Township Land Use Plan adopted in 2002.
The letter closes by stating that the trustees “Strongly oppose the permit application.” The trustees made a formal resolution making that position statement official.
Larry Shaffer with the Clark County Combined Health District told trustees that he had concerns about bacterial problems with the groundwater if the mining permit is approved. He says the mining company showed him its water monitoring program, but the company does not monitor for bacteria like e-coli.
A community action group called “Citizens Against Mining” has formed in response to the mining permit application.
The trustees approved the permanent appropriations budget for 2017. Catanzaro said he followed up on concerns from residents about properties in Park Ridge. He said he drove by the properties in question and they are “really bad” and need to be addressed soon. McClure commented that members of 4-H and FFA have been calling him to find out what the final verdict is on having chickens in a residential area. Anyone with five acres or more may have chickens, but the trustees are not sure about smaller properties.
Hustead Fire Chief Larry Ridenour reports that things continue to be quiet for the Hustead fire department. A call for a field fire at Chillicothe Pike was cancelled before firefighters arrived. A call to an auto accident was also cancelled. Chief Ridenour says the station’s old Engine 2 is still up for auction on govdeals.com; the auction expires on April 3, 2017.
Hustead EMS Chief Heather Kaufman reports that during March the department had a total of 29 runs, which was one less than March, 2016.
Chiefs Ridenour and Kaufman both thanked the trustees and the community for the donations of food and the support the department received after the sudden loss of John Glatfelter Jr. in an auto accident on March 20. Glatfelter was a Lieutenant for the Hustead EMS & Fire Dept. Chief Kaufman also expressed gratitude for the German Township Fire & EMS who covered Hustead’s calls so members of the department could attend Lt. Gladfelter’s funeral.
Mad River Road Dept. Superintendent, Don O’Connor, reports that the department’s new truck has arrived, it is “beautiful, and thanked everyone for approving the funding for it. O’Connor also says the Hustead Rd. drainage problem has been taken care of and that the removal of dead trees is moving along as well.
O’Connor reports that the cemetery received calls for four funerals since the last Township meeting. He also says that the cut-off date to request gravesite foundations is April 21, and that pouring to begin around April 27. Also, work done at the top of the hill to divert water has helped keep a washout from happening by the cemetery’s building. The cemetery’s spring clean-up is underway and some shepherd hooks have been taken down. The hooks are being tagged and put by the building.
O’Connor also reported about the park, telling trustees that some of the ornamental grasses in the park will be thinned out and some of it will be moved to the cemetery. There is also a need to plant more flowers since the daylilies seem to have died off. Two memorial trees will be dedicated sometime this spring as well.
Residents voiced more concerns were about Enon Sand & Gravel’s mining permit. One resident strongly recommends that homeowners in the areas likely be affected if the mining permit modifications are approved should be monitoring their wells now for depth and microorganisms, “It will be too late to do anything if they start mining, because then (the mining company) is going to tell (homeowners) to prove that their wells were better before the mining started.”
A comment was also made that, in addition to the trustee’s official letter to Lanny Erdos at the ODNR, submitting personal letters to him may be even more effective. The deadline for the public to make comments about the issue is April 21, 2017.
The next regular Mad River Twp. meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on April 18 in the Mad River Twp. Hall in Enon.