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Union Township asked to use zoning to protect Buckeye Lake residents

BUCKEYE LAKE – Village council members unanimously approved a motion March 27, urging Union Township Trustees to amend their zoning resolution to address concerns about Portland cement and fugitive dust emissions from ODNR’s dam replacement project.

The Licking County portion of the stability berm placed in front of the existing dam during Phase 1 is in Union Township. Union and Walnut Township trustees wrote ODNR Director James Zehringer last December, asking ODNR to require its contractors to take steps to avoid repeating the April 30. 2016, release of approximately a ton of Portland cement over Buckeye Lake Village’s Rosebraugh Circle neighborhood.

OSHA considers Portland cement hazardous due to its skin corrosion/irritation, eye damage, skin sensitization and carcinogenicity/ inhalation effects. The release damaged roofs, siding, decks, vehicle finish and vehicle finish. The trustees asked Zehringer to protect residents’ health by requiring its contractors to use silos equipped with Best Available Control Technology which includes an overfill alarm/ automatic shutoff, sets minimum control efficiency standards for filter systems and sets a performance standard of no visible emissions exceeding 30 seconds in any six-minute period.

Trustees also asked Zehringer to accept Ohio EPA’s control standards for fugitive dust even though they are generally not applicable in Licking and Fairfield counties. Contractors did operate two small water trucks occasionally during Phase I, the application frequency was not sufficient to control fugitive dust.

Zehringer had not responded by Buckeye Lake’s March 27 council meeting. Earlier, trustees asked about the no response at the March 9 Listening Session at Millersport Elementary School and State Representative Tim Schaffer had asked ODNR about the letter at least twice.

Council member Tim Ryan brought up the issue. “The majority of the dam, the old dam, sets in Union Township so the question I have and the discussion I’d like to have is I think the Village of Buckeye Lake needs to reach out to Union Township Trustees and encourage them to come up with a zoning requirement … that precludes having a concrete mixing (plant) setting on their property. As you all know, (it) blew up at some point and time last year and coated a bunch of houses. Your council and this mayor needs to talk to Union Township and say: let’s not have this thing installed on the dam in Buckeye Lake area and if Millersport wants to do the same thing, that’s fine “

He asked Union Township Trustee Charles Prince to comment. He expressed frustration with ODNR’s failure to respond. Prince added that ODNR’s contract with ASI for Phase II references several bid packages including one for berm dust suppression. “It calls for one truck, one operator, 40 hours per week. The project is operating 60 hours per week,” he explained.

Prince said he asked last week, as a trustee, for the detailed specifications . He then learned that his request was being treated like a public records request which will likely delay receipt for 6-8 weeks. His protests were ignored.

He pointed out that about three times as much Portland cement will be used during Phase II. “I think the residents and our neighbors in Walnut Township deserve better,” Prince concluded.

Council President Kitty Zwissler asked Ryan if he thought a resolution of support was warranted.

“Yes, but is Union Township of the mind to amend zoning regulations to preclude Portland Cement machines staying on top of the dam in Union Township?” Ryan said.

“I can only speak for myself….I’m one of three. All the trustees are very disappointed,” Prince said. “It would take some time to get that done. If pushed we may have to do that.”

“I would much rather have them share the specifications for dust suppression. If they’re not sufficient, change them so they are and 2) agree that any Portland Cement silo have B.A.C. T. controls and at that point we should be protected.”

““Yes, but past history shows they’re not going to do that,” Ryan responded.

“Our objective here is not to shut them down. Let’s just say, require any Portland cement silos to have B.A.C.T.,” Prince suggested.

Ryan’s motion asking Union Township to address both concerns with zoning was approved 5-0 with council member Tom Wolfe abstaining. He worked for ASI during Phase I. Council member Bob Masone M.D. was absent.

In other business, Mayor Clay Carroll confirmed that there is an opening on the Planning Commission. “Technically, it’s still open,” he said. “Yes, because council did not reconfirm Stacey McCloud.”

One candidate, Doug Stewart, has applied for the position. The next step is to interview Stewart or determine whether anyone else might be interested.

Council members also accepted Finance Committee recommendations that $13,000 from the overfunded street lighting fund be used to fix the village office roof, to reduce the police department budget by $30,000 while acknowledging that the department may need more money before the year is over and agreeing to purchase a used Dodge police cruiser for $3,000 from Hebron.

Council member Peggy Wells suggested placing a 2-mill street levy on the November ballot. It would raise $94,700 a year. It is uncertain whether it can be labeled a street levy, but Wells wants to make sure it is earmarked for street repairs. Ryan wants to address storm water first. Wells agreed that made sense, suggesting that the levy be reserved for storm water and streets.

She also asked about the $125,000 grant for streetscape improvements that was included in the last capital appropriations bills.

“We have this opportunity to get a $125,000 streetscape grant and I was just wondering what we could do to bring together a group to get a consensus on how the money was going to be spent.” Wells added, “We’re hearing that there’s a 50% match on this money so it seems to me that it would require the involvement of this legislative body to determine how we would come up with that 50% match.”

Zwissler challenged Wells on where she got her information.

“Actually, you’re the one that said we had to get a 50% match, ” Wells told her.

“I sent you out the information and sent it to everybody and told you that – the issue – we didn’t have enough information on it because we were getting mixed messages so I didn’t want to discuss it any further until we have additional information,” Zwissler responded.

Ryan told Zwissler, “Well, I’ll tell you this – had she not brought it up, I was going to bring it up because I want to know who is on the committee and what they are doing about it. Because, I happen to be on the core committee. There was a bill to get it passed and I was actually sitting there fighting to keep it in the bill.”

“So what I want to know is: Do we have a committee?,” Ryan asked. “Do we have somebody who is working on what we’re doing with the $125,000?”

“It will go to finance when we get the extra information.,” Zwissler told Ryan.

He responded, “Do we have a committee? Do we have a plan? Do we have anything that’s going forward? What I do know because I sit on this core committee is that Millersport has a plan. They picked out a piece of property. They have things that they are working on. Do we, as a village, have a plan? Are we working on this of what to do with $125,000 and finding the match. Those are my questions.”

A few minutes later Ryan asked, “Who is working on this?”

Zwissler said, “I’m working on it. The mayor’s working on it. And the people at the state level. And LCATS.”

“I don’t care about LCATS or the state level,” Ryan said. “I want to know who in this community is working on this project.”

“ There will be a citizen’s committee ……..,” Zwissler promised. Carroll added, “We’re trying to find out 1) What is the real match because we’re getting mixed information on that. And I almost say anything with a 50% match, we need to take serious consideration if we even want it. But then secondly, what can it be used for? And we haven’t been able to get a good answer to either one of those two questions.”

“According to Jessica Delong, grant coordinator with the Ohio Public Facilities Commission says that your date of 6-30-18 is, in fact, a deadline date like you’re saying but it’s a deadline to have the project completed,” Wells told Zwissler. “And it makes sense because it’s the end of the biennium budget for the state. But you’re supposed to submit an application in 2017.

My problem Kitty is that I just want there to be some transparency in the process and there hasn’t been any transparency in the process. I agree with Tim. We need to get a group of people together. I would love for us to get some residents involved also on how we spend this money.”

“We have plans on that and the mayor has a list of people and they’re all the business owners and it’s called streetscape,” Zwissler said

“Okay, tell us the list of people that are working on this,” Wells asked. “I’m writing them down. Who are they?”

Zwissler hesitated and Carroll said, “It’s a list we’re going try to get people if we can. We haven’t contacted them.”

Council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 10, at the village offices.

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