Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Sewer facility vote is expected

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT WRIGHT — Sanitation District No. 1 is expected to vote on a resolution tonight that would authorize condemnation proceedings on property in Boone County that may become the home of a new sewer plant.

        Sanitation district officials verified receipt of a letter Monday from an attorney representing Don Stites, owner of the Belleview Bottoms property.

        “From the tone of the letter it sounds like they may be interested in sitting down and talking about trying to resolve this issue,” said Jeff Eger, sanitation district general manager. “We have always been willing to sit down and negotiate the sale of the property as opposed to condemnation.”

        Despite the letter, district officials say the board will vote on condemnation.

        Mr. Stites has been adamant about his unwillingness to sell the 228 acres since the board voted on the site in June 1999.

        “We remain adamantly opposed to selling to SD 1,” Mr. Stites said. “In fact, we submitted comments to them today arguing against their selection of our farm for a sewer plant.”

        The Stites family has retained an engineer to look over studies done by Sanitation District No. 1 and has submitted comments about the draft regional facilities plan, a document that outlines improvements over the next 20 years.

        Mr. Stites argues that most of the text and supporting data show little difference from the 1997 plan but that the results have changed. He also argues the plant should not be on prime farmland.

        The Stites family also included comments from Herbert C. Preul, a consultant and professor of civil and environmental engineering. Dr. Preul's conclusions say the cost of putting the facility in Belleview Bottoms would be considerably more and that an environmental impact study should be done. He also suggested the idea of a regional facility in Gallatin County be further investigated.

        The district has offered an undisclosed amount for the Stites property. Mr. Stites signed a confidentiality agreement with the sanitation district last year. Documents obtained by The Cincinnati Enquirer show he signed an agreement with the district less than a month after the sanitation board voted to locate the plant on his farm.

        The board meets at 4 p.m. today at the Marquise Banquet Center, 1016 Town Drive, Wilder.


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