Saturday, November 9, 2002

Residents sue to revoke permit

Sayler Park taking on Army Corps

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sayler Park residents sued in federal court Friday to block construction of a concrete distribution facility in their community.

The lawsuit claims the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated its own rules as well as the National Historic Preservation Act when the agency gave permission to build the facility.

Residents fear the facility will disrupt their historic neighborhood with noise, dust, traffic and other problems.

"Our ultimate goal is to stop them from locating in Sayler Park," said Rhonda Frey, a lawyer for the residents, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

The dispute began two years ago when the Indianapolis-based Lone Star Industries applied to build a concrete distribution terminal along the Ohio River in Sayler Park. Residents and elected officials immediately complained about the plan, arguing that it was not appropriate for a residential neighborhood.

The Army Corps, however, granted approval for the project and, earlier this week, signed off on a permit that will allow Lone Star to operate barges at the facility.

Residents, however, contend that the Army Corps ignored its own rules for gathering public input about projects before considering approval. A spokesman for the Army Corps declined comment Friday.

The lawsuit also claims that the impact of the facility will be so severe that it will harm several historic sites in Sayler Park.

The suit states that more than 300 homes in the neighborhood are more than 100 years old and that 13 properties there are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Some of those properties are part of a historic district directly across from the proposed facility.

"Every elected official on the local, state and federal level has voiced objections to this plan," Ms. Frey said. "They have ignored those objections."

She said residents want a federal judge to declare Lone Star's permit "null and void."


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