Commissioners' mistake with public notice causes judge to request meeting transcript

From The Athens News

An Athens County Common Pleas judge has filed an order for a transcript of the 2016 meeting of the county Board of Commissioners during which they approved a road waiver for a coal-mining company that they then rescinded this past September because of a mistake on a public notice.

The Coshocton-based coal company subsequently filed a court appeal of the county Commissioners’ decision to rescind the road waiver for the company’s mining project near Glouster in northern Athens County.

The Commissioners originally granted the right-of-way waiver to Oxford Coal Co. for work within 100 feet of County Road 68 as it relates to the coal-mining project last year. Oxford currently has a permit for the mine pending before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Ohio EPA recently approved a water-quality permit for the proposed mine.

The proposed permit area for the project is about 300 acres, located off Johnson Run Road not far from the Trimble State Wildlife Area. Oxford’s proposal calls for a five-year mining plan.

Critics of the proposed mine attended multiple Athens County Commission meetings over the past several months, encouraging them to rescind the waiver and to oppose the project.

In August, the Commissioners asked Oxford to voluntarily go through the public-hearing process again for the waiver after a mistake was found on its public notice for the hearing that already had been held.

The problem with the first public notice was that it did not specifically define what impact the operation would have on the road and its right-of-way. Plans submitted by the company do show those details, but the public notice failed to include them.

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