FAIRBORN – The City of Fairborn’s council chambers were overflowing with residents in anticipation of the CEMEX property re-zoning public hearing Monday during the lastest council meeting.
Residents opposing the rezoning, in addition to individuals who are supportive of the matter, had the opportunity to state their cases – and they did.
“There’s 125 individuals currently working at the Fairborn facility, and because of our facility over 200 other individuals in Ohio indirectly rely on us for jobs,” Ronald Strator, an employee of CEMEX for the past 26 years said during the meeting. “One thing a lot of people don’t consider is that because we have a local cement plant, we have lower cement prices by about $14 million annually due to lower shipping costs. We are very regulated by ODNR, Mine Safety and Health Administration, U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA, Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, ATL and United States Army Core of Engineers … As owners of land, CEMEX has rights to the highest and best use of its land.”
Individuals from both sides of the argument spoke.
“In these types of operations, all the risk gets transferred to the residents,” Steve Gray said during a 10-minute break. “If there’s an accident, an explosion that doesn’t go the right way – if all the bad things that we talk about here [take place], none of the residents in Fairborn are going to feel that, it’ll be the people out on West Enon Road. They’re the ones who are going to have to cope if something goes wrong … Mining operations and the types of things they’re talking about doing are incompatible with residential areas, and that’s why we have zoning laws.”
Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick explained the rules and guidelines of a public hearing to attendees before beginning that portion of the meeting; Community Development Director Mike Gebhart began the discussion by providing information regarding what has occurred in the matter thus far; City Clerk Julie Taylor swore-in individuals wishing to speak. The meeting lasted approximately four hours and 50 minutes. Council members will cast their vote at the third and final reading at the next meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 8.
In other areas of business, council honored retiring Deputy Mayor and Former Councilman James Hapner for his service to the community. His retirement will go into effect Sept. 1.
“It was strictly a personal decision,” he said.
Council members heard from President and CEO Dale Bruner of the Greater Dayton YMCA on its impact on the Fairborn community. He said since lowering its membership rate in December 2014, it has welcome 245 new families as members. He said it’s total membership reaches more than 12 percent of Fairborn’s total population.
In addition, Assistant Finance Director Annetta Williams accepted an Auditor of State Award with distinction, presented by Joe Braden, as the city was selected to receive it after its 2014 fiscal year. Braden said less than 5 percent of all entities audited by the state earn such an award.
“For the fiscal year 2014, it’s important to note that the City of Fairborn is a very select group,” Braden said.
Dr. Alicia Eckhart, Parks and Recreation superintendent, presented a resolution that would authorize the support of a Clean Ohio grant application by B-W Greenway Community Land Trust in regards to the acquirement of more than 18 acres of land to be utilized by the city for parkland.
A citizens forum will take place 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24 at The Summit at Park Hills.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.
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