Letters to the Editor week of 01-31-08


Concrete plant

To the Editor:

Over the past few months a concrete manufacturing company has expressed interest in locating in Switzerland County. They have looked at numerous sites, including several in the Markland/Florence area. Residents in both areas staunchly opposed the plant causing them to abandon those locations. They have redirected their efforts toward a five-acre section of land that is only 1.2 miles east of Vevay at 115 Highway 156. They are requesting that the County Board of Commissioners “allow a change in zoning from a FR (Forest/Recreation) district to an II (Industrial) district.”

Notification of this proposed amendment was in the Public Notices of this newspaper’s classifieds 10 days before it was heard at the Switzerland County Area Planning Commission on January 23rd. There were only a few people at this hearing and the proposal now goes before the County Board of Commissioners for final approval/disapproval next Monday, February 4th at 5 p.m. at the Switzerland County Courthouse in Vevay.

Anyone who lives on or travels Highway 156 should attend this meeting. Previous presentations by John D. Gay, attorney for Southeastern Ready Mix, LLC of North Vernon have indicated that the concrete company will have a fleet of 20-24 trucks which will include aggregate trucks and “the occasional semi”. When they were looking at property in Florence, he informed us that they wanted that land because of it’s proximity to Markland Dam and the money in Kentucky. When pressed for information about how the plant could benefit Switzerland County they finally said they plan to employ five-six drivers locally. Trucks will be traveling Highway 156 in excess of 10 hours a day, at least six days a week. If the money is in Kentucky, they will be heading east on 156 to the dam, meaning the heavy and cumbersome vehicles will need to turn left out of the access drive they will construct to their five acres at 115 Highway 156. This property is just east of the curve and bridge at Plum Creek and just west of Tapps Ridge Road. If you are traveling east their driveway will be virtually blind – imagine coming around that curve and a cement truck pulling out in front of you.

No Environmental Impact Study has been done (regarding the hazardous materials involved in concrete production and clean-up) nor has a Traffic Study been done – the concrete company doesn’t believe either is necessary. Pollution, dust, noise and the wear that additional heavy truck traffic will cause on Highway 156 must be considered and adequately addressed.

I asked about water and was told that wells would be dug and retaining ponds built to deal with the effluent and run-off from cleaning the cement trucks. I’m concerned about the ground water supply and the proximity to Plum Creek.

The last few weeks Letters to the Editor column has been filled with comments on horseshoes and road-apples mostly opining that these subjects are not worthy of Commission attention. I hope this letter will bring out a few letters to the County Board and a good turn-out to the February 4th meeting as insurance that the matter is considered to the community’s satisfaction.

I am all for new industry in the County. We need new businesses and jobs to keep our community viable. Anyone who owns property in the county wants to know that there will be a buyer for their land when they are ready to sell. We only accomplish this by ensuring that the businesses that operate here have the same goals, the same concerns and are willing to care for the county the way we do.

If you approve or disapprove of the idea of a concrete plant 1.2 miles from town, you will have your chance to be heard Monday, February 4th at 5 p.m.

Valarie Bennett


Fire protection

To the Editor:

I would like to address this letter to the citizens of the Markland area.

A month or so ago five cars in Belterra’s parking lot burned up because it takes so long for East Enterprise to respond due to narrow, crooked roads and the lack of anybody showing up at Florence Station.

A few weeks later a house in Florence caught fire. If it had not been for a good neighbor and a firefighter’s (Paul Furnish of Jeff-Craig) quick decision to go to the Firehouse in Florence and get their truck and take it to the scene and pull hose off and fight the fire, the house would have burned down before help arrived. (He also had help from Lewis Fritter.)

Another house fire in Markland – the house was fully involved by the time a fire department got there. It took over 20 minutes for East Enterprise to get there. Jeff-Craig Fire Department was there in eight minutes after they were finally pages. The next morning at 6:10 Jeff-Craig Fire Department was paged again for a restart. They came again. That same afternoon Jeff-Craig was paged there again, but after they got en route, one of the Florence firefighters called the sheriff’s office to have them canceled, and then had East Enterprise paged instead. They had to make the long trip down here again. It’s not only Markland area but Mount Sterling, Fairview Road and Bennington Pike.

What is it going to take – somebody burned up in a fire or a bad wreck on the narrow crooked roads they have to travel to get to the River Road (Highway 156) when Patriot or Jeff-Craig has a straight shot all the way? Who is going to be responsible for that? Somebody – Fire Chiefs or Sheriff’s office – needs to change fire protection boundaries for the department that can get there the fastest and safest.

I live in Markland and if I have a fire problem I want Jeff-Craig with the best response time sent to my house. When they get here and think they need help it should be their decision to call another department.

I called the County Commissioners about this and was told it was out of their hands. Somebody needs to correct this problem.

Richard Peelman


(Retired firefighter with 27 years

with Jeff-Craig Fire Department)

Pet responsibility

To the Editor:

My letter is really a personal one to the man in the truck who drove past my farm Saturday afternoon and put two really cute puppies out on the road.

If you would have dropped them down the road a little farther the neighbors’ dogs would have killed them. But you’re the lucky one, they did come over to where we were and we brought them to the house to wait for Monday so I could take them to the shelter as I have no room for any more dogs.

Fortunately for me a friend of mine came by that evening and took the pets to her vet to have them looked at before they placed them in a shelter. The pups needed a lot of professional care because they had mange very badly. Just to let you know now you exposed my pets and my family to this expensive health problem. You’ll need to have your dogs treated also. It is contagious. The person or children at your home who has been playing with these guys will also need to be watched for symptoms. I know sometimes accidents cannot be helped but be responsible and do us all a favor and get your pets spayed and neutered before it happens again. There are a lot of veterinarian phone numbers in the yellow pages who will do it for you.

You did have another alternative to your actions. We do have a shelter in the community now. They could have helped you out with maybe only a small fee to get rid of your problem. At least that way you could have driven off with a clear conscience. But since you chose to drop them on Bradford Road, then drove back by, I think it might be bothering you.

Let’s just hope that I’m not a vindictive enough person to turn in the make, model and license plate number to the sheriff’s department. I’m sure there’s a law against dumping. Next time, if you have problems, ask me first. I would have tried to help you if you would have asked me.

Jenny McClurg

Near Lake Geneva

Pay attention

For weeks I have meant to write and have not, but enough is enough. The County Commissioners talked about the Ordinances for most of last year (at least) prior to finally enacting them. If any of the folks who have been writing bothered to attend a County Commissioners meeting, they would know that. They did not invent the Ordinances, they were based upon existing ones from the northern part of the state.

While I agree that some horse poop is not that big of a deal for me, apparently it is for enough folks that they called and complained to the County Commissioners. They then thought they were following the wishes of the residents and passed rules to satisfy their constituents.

When a group from the Amish community came and discussed concerns about the horseshoe rules, the County Commissioners listened and came to a compromise that both sides could accept. The irony is that this became an issue because they have done such a good job of turning our gravel roads (that are not affected by the horseshoes) to paved ones.

Give the guys a break. They are trying the best they can to figure out what folks w ant. Also, if you all are so concerned about not knowing what is happening, try attending the occasional County Council (second Saturday) or County Commissioners (first and third Monday) meeting. The members are friendly and responsive to concerns brought to their attention.

Greg Fillenwarth

Near Florence