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Richfield trustees approve settlement for use of crusher

4/24/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

After months of negotiations and citizen comments, the Richfield Township Board of Trustees approved a settlement with JJJ Properties for the use of a concrete crusher in the Light-Industrial Office District.

Zoning Inspector Laurie Pinney issued a zoning citation last June to JJJ Properties for its use of the crusher to grade its property in the Richfield Industrial Park. Pinney said the area consists of 80 acres of mostly undeveloped property and a concrete batch plant.

The company appealed the citation to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and then ultimately asked the township if the issue could be settled before being decided by the BZA.

Pinney said some of the residents’ concerns are incorporated into the settlement agreement. She said the trustees have had several public meetings on this issue before approving the settlement.

“This is a tough decision,” said Trustee Jeff Shupe. “We have to take a lot into consideration: the residents, the development of the land and a person’s property.”

Before the vote, resident Rich Fleming, of Columbia Road, asked why the crusher was allowed to run for 11 days in 2013.

Pinney said she issued a citation as soon as the township was aware the crusher was on the site, but she could not file an affidavit to stop the action immediately because she could not say it was causing nuisance through dust, noise or vibration. She said the crusher has not been used since the two parties agreed to work on a settlement.

Resident Ken Bennett, of Hecker Drive, said he had no problem with the crusher, but when the concrete is brought onto the site, “it’s like a war zone.”

“The dump truck dumps it out, the bulldozer pushes it into a mountain; there are backup beepers. It’s just noisy,” he said.

Under the settlement, the crusher is permitted to run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

According to the settlement, JJJ Properties must use reasonable efforts to restrict sound level within a certain distance of the crushing operation activity only, and JJJ will provide equipment to test sound levels and will have those measurements verified by the township zoning inspector.

The settlement also states JJJ must provide access for regular township inspections. Richfield will provide notice prior to any inspection, according to the settlement.

No outside storage of material not intended for crushing or grading on site, except for batch plant operation, is permitted without further permission from the township as outlined in the Zoning Code, according to the settlement.

The settlement also states no crushed concrete material that is produced on site will be taken off site or used in the batch plant.

In other news:

  • The trustees agreed to replace the large trash receptacle at Rising Valley Park with a small building for trash cans. This would reduce wear and tear on the parking lot caused by the garbage truck. The building will cost between $700 and $800.
  • Pinney said officials from the township and Richfield Village have discussed the possibility of creating a joint park district to oversee the 300-acre Crowell Hilaka Girl Scout Camp property.
    She said the district could be created by the government or through a petition circulated by voters.
    The owner of the property, the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, has entered into a contingent purchase agreement with the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which has convened a coalition of community advocates in its search for a purchaser.
  • Township Administrator Linda Bowmer said the township had applied for a grant for the improvement of Hawkins Road. If the grant is approved, the work would take place in the summer of 2015.
    Bowmer also said the annual Project Pride Community Cleanup Day will take place April 26, along with the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway in the Town Hall area.
    She added the May 15 trustees meeting is canceled since not enough trustees will be able to attend.

The next trustees’ meeting is scheduled for May 1 at 10 a.m. at the township offices, located behind the fire station on West Streetsboro Road.

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