Saturday, June 08, 2002

Oil plant expansion gets OK

Sedamsville decision reversed

By Brett Corbin,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Planning Commission on Friday overturned its rejection of plans to expand a fatty oils plant at an old railroad yard in Sedamsville.

        The plan, approved 5-0, now goes to City Council for approval.

        Allowing the expansion by Peter Cremer Inc. will retain 45 jobs and create up to 45 more. Cremer is a 4-year-old company that processes fats and oils for various products. It says the expansion will give it greater access to railways and waterways.

        Without the land, the company might have decided to relocate.

        The 60-acre site is near River Road, next to the Ohio River and railroad lines. It's a few minutes drive from downtown, but is not suitable for residential housing.

        The plan to expand Cremer's processing plant was turned down May 17 by a vote of 3-2. At that meeting, officials of the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority couldn't answer questions from the commission about taxes the property would generate or allay concerns of Sedamsville residents that the plan was moving too fast.

        At Friday's meeting, Port Authority President Tim Sharp presented the commission with a letter from Sedamsville residents saying they now support the plan.

        In the letter, Douglas Kohls, the Sedamsville Civic Association president, said his group didn't want the expansion blocked but wanted some points addressed. The association wants a master plan for the remaining 40 acres at the site, notification of further details and consideration of companies in the area for use of the remaining land. Two other letters — one from the Riverside Civic and Welfare Club and the other from the Riverfront Advisory Council — supporting the project were given to the commission.

        Just before the unanimous vote was taken, commission member Caleb Faux said he voted against the plan the first time because legitimate questions were not answered. He said those questions were answered in this presentation.

        “Last time I felt like this commission was being asked to rubber stamp something,” he said. “And that is not the proper role of this body.”

        The proposal calls for Cincinnati to lease the 20 acres to the Port Authority. The authority then would use bonds to build roads and other infrastructure for the site.


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