By Bryan Wroten
The owner of 74 acres of land just west of Pin Oak Parkway is exploring the possibility of building a hot mix asphalt plant and ready mix concrete plant.
During the June 5 Planning Commission work session, Peter Alex of Peter M. Alex/Moore Road LLC explained his interest in building the facility on the industrially zoned land just south of PolyOne, which could create about 14 jobs on-site and 50 to 100 satellite trucking jobs.
The original plan for that land was actually an asphalt plant, Alex said, but a previous city administration suggested his company develop the land for suppliers for Ford Motor Co.’s Ohio Assembly Plant. Though his company pursued this for a number of years, he said, because the Norfolk Southern railroad wouldn’t allow any easements or crossings of their sidings, the plan fell apart.
His family has been in the construction materials business for decades, he said, and he’d like to go back into it after having sold off a number of asphalt and concrete plants in the past.
“We think this is a very viable situation,” he told the commission members.
The asphalt and concrete production business is picking up, he said, because it furnishes infrastructure. The biggest customers of this industry are the Ohio Department of Transportation, counties and municipalities, he said.
“We have a pretty good base of need within our government agencies, so that’s what we always bank on,” he said.
The facility would connect with the mainline railroad track just to the south, he said, and the property would have 4,700 feet of track to store 100 to 150 cars of materials. The rest of the area would have stockpile storage for the offloaded rocks to distribute to the two plants. He estimated the facility would offload about 150,000 to 300,000 tons of rock a year, which would equate to about 400 tons an hour for asphalt and about 200 cubic yards an hour of concrete.
“We should be able to generate about eight jobs, plus six ready mix driver jobs at least, so that’s a total of 14 new jobs – good-paying construction jobs,” Alex said. “There would be at least another 50 to 100 satellite jobs with truckers coming in and out.”
His company’s previous plants have all been good neighbors, he said, even those by residential areas. One of his past asphalt plants was in the Tremont area, where it was only 300 feet to the nearest home, he said, and they managed to coexist well. The plant had a hotline for neighborhood concerns.
Though he couldn’t give a more detailed estimate of when the plants would open, given the necessary coordination with the railroad and environmental permitting, Alex predicted it would be next spring at the earliest.
Planning Commission Chairman Gary Fell had a number of questions for Alex, particularly how the facility would affect train traffic and the effect on the environment.
Alex said he didn’t believe the plants would interfere with the main railroad line, as the facility would have enough track for a train to offload the cars. The train deliveries wouldn’t be a daily occurrence, he said, but there would be more trains than now.
“It’s not going to be any different than it was when the coal plant was at its peak or at its height in production,” he said.
There would also be increased truck traffic, he said, as the asphalt and concrete leave on trucks, not by train. The trucks would likely use Moore Road and then Pin Oak to reach SR 83.
The plants would mainly operate five days a week during daylight hours, he said, but there could be times when the plant would work overnight if the Ohio Department of Transportation had a project that was night-only.
Fell inquired about the air and noise pollution and how that would affect the community.
To handle those questions, Alex’s environmental engineer, Eric Augustine, stepped in. The facility would meet the required air pollution control permits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), Augustine said, and would monitor the stack emissions from the asphalt plant as well as fugitive emissions from the open-air stockpiles. There would be a limit on visible dust emissions, he said, and the roads would be paved as opposed to gravel. Because this plant would mix the ingredients to make the concrete, he said, it’s not actually crushing any rock.
As it is a startup plant, the OEPA would test the emissions from the stack after running the plant at capacity, 400 tons per hour, for eight hours, he said. The permits renew on five-year terms.
As for noise issues, the decibel level for these types of plants after 1,000 feet is about 60 to 65 decibels, he said, and would fit in with background noises, being no louder than a train a quarter of a mile away or someone with a lawn mower three houses down.
Commission member and Ward 2 Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch questioned whether there would be any fire or explosion hazards at the facility.
Alex’s corporate consultant, Rob McIntyre, said while there would be diesel fuel in approved tanks, everything else would be water. Hot mix is kept at 140 degrees in insulated tank cars and then moved into insulated tanks surrounded by dams. Cement has nothing explosive in it, he said. When making the hot mix, he said, there’s no contact between the gas flame and the liquid. In each of the four plants he’s consulted on since the 1990s, he said, there’s never been a fire or explosion.
As this was only a work session, Planning Commission did not vote on any measure. Alex will have to return to a regular commission meeting with a full site plan requiring commission approval before moving ahead with any project, should his company decide to do so.
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