EPA releases city, developer from Home Avenue liability

Home Avenue Redevelopment LLC and the city of Dayton have received a “covenant not to sue” from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency said Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the EPA said the covenant is a legal document that says essentially that the property owner and the city voluntarily assessed and cleaned or “remediated” the area.

In return, the covenant is a declaration by the state that releases those involved from liability from further clean-up work as long as requirements in the covenant are met.

One requirement of the agreement: The developer cannot build residences on the property, said the EPA spokeswoman, Dina Pierce.

The 54-acre property is located at 2701 Home Ave., Dayton.

The historic property is about halfway between downtown and the Veteran Affairs Medical Center off West Third, between Third and U.S. 35, which runs to the south of the site.

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Aviation pioneers and Dayton residents Orville and Wilbur Wright built the first buildings on the site in 1910 and 1911 as an airplane production operation. More than 100 airplanes were built there.

Home Avenue Redevelopment purchased the site in December 2012 with the intent of remediating the site’s environmental issues and selling it.

The land for decades was also home to Inland and Delphi manufacturing plants. The Delphi plant was torn down in 2013.

The U.S. National Park Service plans to purchase the property, including buildings formerly used by the Wrights, and incorporate it into the existing Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, the EPA noted in its announcement.

The city of Dayton received a $3 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant for work on the site in 2012, the same year Home Avenue Redevelopment purchased the property.

Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, the volunteers hired a certified environmental professional to assess the property and address areas of environmental concern, the EPA said. Remedial activities included excavating and disposing of contaminated soil, removing asbestos from buildings before they were demolished and engineering controls including maintenance of sub-slab depressurization systems to mitigate soil vapors in off-site residences, the agency said.

Said the EPA, “A covenant not to sue protects the property owner or operator and future owners from being legally responsible to the state of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation relating to known releases. The protection applies only when the property is used and maintained according to the terms and conditions of the covenant.”

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