Piqua approves large annexation, pauses on quarry development amid questions

Multi-part project has been proposed for land northwest of Exit 78 on I-75

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission on Tuesday voted to annex 663.64 acres south of the current city limits, including property near the undeveloped Exit 78 of I-75.

But the commission tabled votes on two associated resolutions, saying they wanted more time to consider them.

Those resolutions propose an industrial zoning for the land and an economic development agreement associated with the annexed area of Piqua Materials, Hohman Farms, Schaurer and J3 Development.

The commission heard extensive comments from the community on the proposals. Many comments concerned a proposed quarry by Piqua Materials on land south of Fox Drive and the Sherry Industrial Park, on the west side of I-75.

The city planning commission last week approved a conditional use permit for a quarry — which is allowed under industrial zoning with special requirements — with stipulations that all concerns about water, vibrations and pollution heard at the Sept. 13 meeting would be mitigated.

City Law Director Frank Patrizio said the issues Tuesday did not include the quarry.

Residents contended, though, that the requests were related.

Several speakers said they were not opposed to developing the southern portion of the property near the I-75 interchange, but most commenting opposed the quarry.

ExplorePrevious: Quarry, industrial, commercial plans for Piqua site

Piqua Materials already operates a quarry nearby, across the Great Miami River along Piqua-Troy Road. It hasn’t had complaints from businesses in the industrial park in that area, said Dennis Garrison, chief executive officer of Piqua Materials.

Some speakers questioned what businesses would be interested in the industrial land to the south if a quarry was in plans for nearby property.

Brad Doudican of Woodard Development, Dayton, said there has been interest in the property by site selection companies because it has ready access to the interstate, offers large pieces of contiguous acreage and utilities are located nearby.

The annexation was approved 3-1 with Commissioner Jim Vetter voting no.

Michael Sherry, whose family has the industrial park on Fox Drive, said approval of the related issues would, in his opinion, make the quarry “a shoe-in.” He and other speakers referenced possible legal action.

Concerns again were aired by business owners and area residents about vibrations from mine blasting, impact on water wells and air pollution. Also questioned was how a quarry might impact the nearby former city power plant and the decommissioned nuclear reactor site nearby.

Resident Julia Perkins said she was concerned about the structural impact on her home of a quarry operating about a mile away. “Do we really need this to keep business in Piqua?” she said.

More data on potential impacts is needed by everyone, including the commission, before decisions are made, said city resident Brandon Virgallito.

City Commissioner Kris Lee said he was always in favor of the annexation but with the quarry “not so much so.” There are “other hoops (regulatory) they have to jump through” to get quarry approval, he said, adding, “There is no guarantee there is going to be a quarry there.”

The concerns raised about the proposed quarry can be mitigated, said Garrison, of Piqua Materials. In addition, city officials pointed out that before a quarry could be permitted it would have to go through reviews by agencies such as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

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