Proposed facility meets resistance

Some neighbors plan to speak out against a proposed concrete recycling facility for the near northwest side of Columbus, citing worries about increased noise, pollution and decreased property values.

Chris Rice, of 4190 N. 200 West, Columbus, is seeking a conditional use permit for the recycling facility at 2561 N. Indianapolis Road, asking the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals to grant a conditional use for the business. Under his plan, a scrap metal and junk yard would be removed from nearly 7 acres to make room for the recycling facility.

The business plans to recycle concrete from demolition sites as base preparation and backfill, according to Rice’s application.

Three different types of stone would be stockpiled at the site and be available for purchase by the general public and commercial industry, according to the application. The site would have a crusher on the property to reduce the size of concrete material being stored, according to Rice’s proposal.

Residents who live near the proposed site plan to attend the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Columbus City Hall. The same request was tabled during the panel’s August meeting.

The proposed plan has sparked opposition from homeowners, including Julia Federle, who has lived on Flatrock Drive for 20 years with her husband Cliff and their son Troy.

“We feel like we live out in the country,” Federle said. “It’s very peaceful, and we would like to keep it that way.”

Federle said she is concerned about pollution generated from the facility, saying it remains unclear what the chemical makeup of materials being brought in would be. She added she fears it could have a potential impact on flooding since the proposed development is located in a floodplain.

“It was devastating to all of us (in 2008) and we just don’t want to see anything contributing to that possibly happening again,” she said. “Why couldn’t it go somewhere further out?”

Cliff Federle said the 2008 flood in Columbus resulted in his entire basement being flooded for a week, and he believes the proposed development could impact water from the Flat Rock River.

“As more and more development goes into the floodplain, that water has nowhere to go,” he said.

Similar concerns were shared by Melinda Johnson, who has lived on Sunset Drive with her husband Paul for 30 years. Johnson said she has concerns about possible flooding because of crushed materials being piled near the Flat Rock River.

“With the recycling facility just across the Flat Rock River from our neighborhood, any manipulation of the current farmland to accommodate the installation and running of the equipment would serve as yet another barrier, which would funnel flood water toward the housing along the Flat Rock River and beyond,” Johnson said.

Federle stressed she isn’t opposed to concrete recycling, but is not in favor of the proposed location. She also fears it could affect property values and the quality of life for many residents in the area.

“We love where we live … and just want it to stay as nice as it already is,” she said.

Jeff Rocker, who is representing Rice, said in an earlier interview the facility would be located about 1,200 feet away from the nearest creek and 2,000 feet away from homes that are located on Riverside Drive. The proposed hours of the facility have not yet been determined, Rocker said.

However, Johnson said noise from the facility is a concern. Traffic from Interstate 65 can be heard from the area, she said.

“I don’t think anyone in their right mind would want to hear that noise for 8 to 10 hours a day,” Johnson said.

John Dunlap, who also lives on Sunset Drive, said the neighborhood plans to hire an attorney to represent them.

He is primarily concerned about dust, traffic and the environmental effects that would be created by the proposed facility, he said.

“We’re sensitive in having anything done that could create additional problems,” Dunlap said.

Rocker said in a previous interview that dust generated from the site will be restricted since water will be sprayed on crushed concrete as it comes out of a machine.

Dunlap suggested that an alternate location be explored for the proposed facility.

“That’s plain and simple, and I can’t say it any other way,” Dunlap said.

If you go

What: Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals meeting

Where: Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com