Jefferson Township officials will hear concerns from residents this evening about a proposed organic farm and composting facility in the area just west of Dayton. Previous public meetings about the proposal have been heated, with local residents voicing concerns about the sights and smells associated with industrial composting.
“The bottom line is it stinks, it really stinks, they mix it with manure, and it really reeks,” says Sam Elam, who runs Belmont Labs, an environmental testing facility.
The proposed site for KOTE Organic Farms is at 7750 Dayton-Farmersville Rd. on a property owned by local demolition businessman Steve Rauch. Dan Wampler, a long-time agricultural entrepreneur who currently lives in Mason, says his vision for a specialty farm will be supported by composting on the property, although initially, the farm will produce more compost than it needs and run a sales operation.
Wampler says he shares residents’ concerns about odors.
“We don’t want to have ‘off’ odors because we’re gonna be working there, and we want to be a good neighbor, and we know how to do it properly,” he says.
Wampler estimates four or five trucks a day will carry food scraps and manure in and out of the area, and he says the composting process will be permitted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and closely monitored by his company. Opponents have claimed the organic farm is a trojan horse for a large industrial waste facility, a claim Wampler rejects.
Jefferson Township’s Board of Zoning Appeals will hear comments at a meeting at St. Benedict Catholic Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17. After at least one hearing, the board has to decide whether to grant a conditional use permit to allow composting on the property, which is currently zoned agricultural. Elam and other opponents of the composting argue agricultural zoning in Jefferson Township does not allow for processing of industrial waste, including compost.