Court ruling on landfill won't end opposition
Members plan to be more vocal at city council and township trustee meetings.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
HUBBARD -- A group opposed to the opening of a Hubbard Township construction demolition and debris landfill says it will continue to fight and must step up efforts to increase its membership.
Group members said Wednesday the most important message in their fight is the potential environmental effects of the landfill on both Hubbard Township and the city of Hubbard, and that a recent court ruling doesn't end the fight.
"We lost this time, but we beat them three times before, and can again," said David Wittenauer. "Anything we do slows the process down."
Wittenauer, Rick Hernandez and Joni Dobran are spearheading efforts of a citizen's group known as Hubbard Environmental and Land Preservation.
The group's attorneys are appealing a decision by Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court that the zoning at the Trans Rail America Inc. site allows for CD & amp;D landfills.
Township trustees voted unanimously Monday night to appeal the judge's decision to the 11th District Court of Appeals.
Judge McKay said Trans Rail America's 243-acre property at 6415 Mount Everett Road is classified as industrial, so a construction demolition debris landfill is permitted there. The township had argued that the property is zoned "light industrial" and such a designation prohibits such landfills.
Wittenauer said group members contacted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency about the proposed landfill site, and some OEPA representatives visited the site this week.
Seeking congressional help
Hernandez said the group also wants U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, to help them get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the proposed site and hopefully designate it a 50- or 100-year flood plain. Hernandez said with such a designation, a landfill wouldn't be permitted there.
Members said they can to do more to publicize their fight and plan to be more vocal at city council and township trustee meetings. They planned fundraisers and other ways to get more people to champion their cause.
Dobran said the group needs to do more to get city officials and residents involved. She and other members said they are concerned about the potential impact of hazardous runoff into a stream near the proposed landfill site. The stream flows through downtown Hubbard, and during heavy rains has flooded homes and businesses.
"This isn't just the township's fight," he said. "I live in the city, and I'm fighting this. With some things we make a big deal about the city and the township being separate, but we both support the schools. It's not 'Hubbard Township Eagles' and 'Hubbard City Eagles'. We're all just 'Hubbard Eagles.' We need to be together on this, too."
The group plans to meet weekly -- the next meeting is set for 7 p.m. July 26 at the Hubbard city administration building -- and call members who have not recently been active.