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From the Middletown Journal, Middletown, Ohio
Attorney files lawsuit to stop land sale for coke plant
COMMENT: Should City Council OK the rezonig?
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Monday, May 05, 2008
MIDDLETOWN ó A local attorney and businessman is asking the court to stop one of his neighbors from selling land it a company seeking to build a $340 million coke-making plant.
Frank Schiavone, who resides at 6978 Hamilton-Middletown Road in Monroe ó adjacent to the Middletown farm owned by Dr. Theodore Martin, who now resides in Florida ó filed a motion for the permanent injunction, request for documents from the Martin and the Martin Meadows Limited Partnership created in connection with the proposed sale and the complaint with a jury demand on Monday, May 5, in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
The motion also seeks a temporary injunction pending a hearing to put a sale on hold.
"This is neighbor versus neighbor," Schiavone said. "Once they start working on the project, the damage is done and it's irreparable."
According to the motion for the permanent injunction, which also requests a hearing, Martin and the partnership already have entered into negotiations with SunCoke Energy of Knoxville, Tenn., to sell the farm located at 7014 Hamilton-Middletown Road, and have granted an purchase option contingent on zoning and other permit approvals.
Schiavone also claims his property has depreciated from $575,000 to $200,000 since news of the possible construction of the coke plant was reported, and said it has rendered the property "virtually unsellable."
He also stated in the motion if he and his family choose to remain on their property, "they will be bombarded with massive amounts of air pollution, which will further damage their living environment."
"The right to own property free from intrusion and damage of others is one of our fundamental rights and for the plaintiffs to have that right be trampled upon in this manner, there is no more irreparable harm than that. The prevention of the sale of the Martin farm is the only relief that could prevent his irreparable harm," the document stated.
Schiavone the case would have to be assigned to a judge and the defendants have 30 days to file an answer. A judge will then set a hearing date.
In the civil suit, Schiavone and his wife, Joan, are alleging a private nuisance and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Martin and Martin Meadows.
The Schiavones are seeking compensatory damages of more than $25,000, the costs of the instant action, attorney fees and any and all other relief afforded at law.
The legal action comes the day before Middletown City Council considers an emergency ordinance to vote on a March city planning commission recommendation to approve the rezoning of 157 acres of the Bake-Martin property from low-density residential to industrial use.
SunCoke Energy, as well as AK Steel Corp., who has signed a 20-year agreement to be the exclusive customer for the projected 550,000 tons of coke and 50 megawatts of electricity that the state of the art, heat recovery plant will produce annually, has requested council approve the measure as an emergency to stick to a timetable to enable to meet various tax and financial deadlines.
Councilman David Schiavone, who is Frank Schiavone's brother, will abstain from the vote due to a conflict of interest.
The rezoning request is being made by the city of Middletown, and the council was asked by SunCoke, AK Steel and the business community to approve it as an emergency measure, which means the remaining six council members must vote in the affirmative to confirm the decision for it can take immediate effect.
If it does not pass as an emergency measure, the ordinance can be approved with four votes but would take 30 days to take effect and could open the door to a possible referendum.
"I'm looking for a 6-0 vote against it," Frank Schiavone said. "I want them to do the right thing."
Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2871 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comment: Should City Council OK the rezonig?
New Coke Plant Controversy:
Making coke can be a dirty process: an Illinois petroleum coke maker was cited for air violations
In July 2005 a coke drying plant near Chicago, Illinois was facing government action regarding alleged air pollution violations at Lemont, Ill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleges that the company modified the plant, causing significant emission increases, without obtaining permits that would have required the installation of additional pollution controls. The company also allegedly failed to report the modifications in its state operating permit application and failed to comply with testing and monitoring requirements, the EPA said. The emissions that allegedly increased included volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Source: WasteNews.com
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