By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BATAVIA TWP. - Residents opposed to a planned 203-house subdivision want state environmental regulators to look into the site.
Some residents in this central Clermont County township object to the proposed development, on 99 acres of land abutting Amelia-Olive Branch and Judd roads, for a number of reasons. However, they say they're primarily concerned that the land was once a dumping ground for more than 100 barrels of lead-based paint.
They are concerned that the paint, stored on the land for about 30 years, may have leached into the soil and contaminated ground water.
Some residents have complained to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency about the site, but the agency is still considering how it will proceed. Heather Lauer, agency spokeswoman, said a site inspection is an option.
The property's owner, Batavia Township trustee Archie Wilson, believes the land is fine, and that no leaks or spills occurred.
He has said he had the barrels removed and has shown the paperwork to the OEPA. The barrels have been contained in a landfill in Michigan.
Paul Pardi, supervisor of the division of hazardous waste materials for the agency, said the property's previous owner allowed the barrels to be stored on the land by DuPont.
Pardi acknowledged that the barrels were removed and said Wilson has agreed to conduct any needed environmental impact studies as he proceeds with development.
Residents, however, say this isn't good enough. Upset that a zoning request was approved, clearing the way for the development to begin construction, residents organized and got a referendum onto the November ballot. It seeks to overturn the zoning change.
Residents also say the subdivision is too dense for the area, and would overstrain infrastructure and upset aesthetic appeal. They also contend it would lead to overcrowding of local schools.
But Wilson says the new subdivision would expand the township's tax base and ultimately lead to improvements in all of the areas residents fear will be overburdened.
Besides this issue, other township residents who live near a proposed development on 89 acres of land along Lucy Run and Apple roads are also fighting a zoning change that cleared the way for construction.
Residents contend the proposal is too dense for the available land and worry about overcrowded roads and intersections. This group has also managed to put forth a referendum in the November election.
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