Monday, August 10, 2009

Lower Price Hill's 'Great Junkyard Debate' enters permit stage

Now that River Metals Recycling has applied for permits to make site improvements for its planned scrap metal yard at , the Lower Price Hill Community Council (LPHCC) has shifted its focus to petitioning the source of those permits.

Following its meeting on August 3, LPHCC president Dr. Jack Degano drafted a letter to Business Development and Permit Center director Amit Ghosh, reiterating community concerns that had previously been directed to the Cincinnati Health Department and members of City council.

"In our Community Council's one year of work to stop the opening of a junkyard at 1951 State Avenue, we have received excellent cooperation from other city, county, state and Federal departments, plus specialized groups, and from Lower Price Hill businesses," Degano says. "We will share this letter with our partners, since the 'Great Junkyard Debate' has now entered the permit stage."

He says that it's the LPHCC's united belief that the remedial work described on the company's eight permit applications falls short of its previous promises to the community.

"The 'retaining wall repair construction, storm detention, paving, fencing,' and 'miscellaneous repair...gutters...doors...facade repair and painting,' slabs, a small foundation, et cetera, sound like DIY handyman specials," Degano says. "That proposed work in no way resembles the artist renderings and virtual designs for property improvement displayed by River Metals' representatives at the three city hearings."

And he still questions if the 7.8-acre site can even handle such a heavy, industrial operation, which would store ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metals and junk cars for one to three weeks at a time.

"That hillside is collapsing on both sides," Degano says. "After rain or snow, there is massive water runoff on both State Avenue and Ernst Street. There is an underground creek that rises above ground after heavy rain. There are man-made, malfunctioning pumping stations beneath that ground. Plus, there is the already high traffic volume on State Avenue, a north-south gateway street."

There is also concern about a business that could attract less-than-savory individuals to the neighborhood, Degano says.

"Residents fear inadequate security at the junkyard," he says. "River Metals spokesmen, in private and in public meetings, have never addressed crime problems rampant at junkyards."

Degano cites a recent job fair in Kentucky as yet another example of how the company has failed to be honest with the neighborhood.

"Curiously, the company only advertised the job fair in LPH by taping one photocopied notice to a corner of the window of the largest abandoned building at 1951 State Avenue," he says. "The Community Council Newsletter would gladly have advertised jobs available."

Even though the site's zoning supports its proposed use, the River Metals Recycling operation is "in reality, a junkyard in a residential area of this neighborhood," Degano says.

And he says that his community will remain vigilant, and won't rest until the threats are gone.

"When more than tidying starts to happen at 1951 State Avenue, the LPH Community Council is ready," he says. "We are grateful to all the generous residents and volunteers for joining forces to defend the rights of LPH people to live in peace and safety."

Fort Mitchell-based River Metals Recycling, a subsidiary of the David J. Joseph Company, is the largest scrap metal processor in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky with 11 facilities between Paducah and Xenia.

Previous reading on BC:
'Even larger junkyard' proposed for Lower Price Hill (6/16/09)
Health Department replies to LPH concerns about junkyard licensing (2/24/09)
Lower Price Hill seeks Cole's help in stopping junkyard (2/17/09)
River Metals to apply for junkyard use (11/13/08)
Lower Price Hill fighting proposed junkyard (10/9/08)



D. O'Brien said...

I remember this project and the frequent blogs during the permit process. I actually drive by this site each day, and the junkyard looks really good. Much better than that what the site used to look like. Bet LPH is now glad that the junkyard is part of theor neighborhood.

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