Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Land sought for sewer plant

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WILDER — The board of Sanitation District No. 1 voted unanimously Tuesday to begin condemnation proceedings on 228 acres on Ky. 20 for a new sewer plant.

        Despite opposition from some residents, the board made the decision on the Belleview Bottoms property without comment.

        Todd McMurtry, an attorney representing landowner Don Stites, made his case before board members.

        “We want to state our continued opposition to this action,” he said, adding that the plant would destroy prime farmland, possibly harm the aquifer and promote urban sprawl.

        He suggested an environmental impact study be completed before any action is taken to build the plant.

        After the condemnation resolution was presented to the board, a letter from an other attorney representing Mr. Stites was read into the record. It states that new counsel is involved in the process who needs time to learn about the Belleview property.

        “After we have this learning process we shall be willing to discuss the possible sale of the property to you,” the letter states.

        Mr. Stites said he could not comment on the contents of the letter because he has not talked about it to the attorney who wrote it. He stressed his opposition to the sale of the property.

        “We're appalled they selected our farm, since there are so many arguments against the site,” he said. “They chose us for political reasons, not because we're the best site.

        “This is devastating to us. However, it will also hurt a much broader area. The extra costs of the required pipes and pumps are a ratepayer rip-off. There are serious environmental issues and it will likely lead to unbridled urban sprawl.

        “We will not sell.”

        Jim Daugherty, Boone County's only representative on the board, said adequate sewers reduce sprawl. He also said he believed the project to be thoroughly re searched.

        “I believe the process works and I believe their concerns can be addressed,” he said.

        Mary Swiggum, a Rabbit Hash resident opposed to the new plant, said the fight has only begun.

        “I want you to know we will fight to protect what should be preserved,” she said.

        Sanitation board members also voted unanimously on the regional facilities plan, a document that outlines sewer improvements over the next 20 years.

        The next step in the process is a meeting of the judge-executives from Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties July 31. They will vote on the regional facilities plan, the condemnation resolution, a rate increase and the district's budget.


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