Parties involved in a complaint filed to block a preliminary injunction against owners of a quarry in Benton Township have agreed to an extension that allows attorneys for the owners to file their response by April 13.
Attorneys for Rocky Ridge Development, LLC, and Custom Ecology of Ohio filed a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court against Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters, who last month issued a preliminary injunction against Rocky Ridge Development.
It prevents the company from mixing spent lime from the City of Toledo’s water treatment plant with soil and burying it in cells at the quarry where the property is zoned for A-3 agricultural use.
“The Defendants (Rocky Ridge Development) are digging cells or pits in the A-3 District and mixing spent lime from a drinking water treatment plant with soil and burying it in the cells,” Judge Winters wrote in his decision. “This activity does not constitute a permitted use under the Benton Township zoning regulations in an A-3 District although Defendants are properly engaged in the activity in the M-3 District (Industrial) of their property, at least as a conditional use.”
Judge Winters also denied a motion filed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to intervene in the case. The agency had argued the county court lacked jurisdiction in the matter.
The EPA issued a Land Application Management Permit to Rocky Ridge Development in 2014 and amended the permit earlier this year.
Attorneys for the quarry operator filed for a writ of prohibition with the Supreme Court, repeating the contention the common pleas court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to hear the case.
In his response, Judge Winters argued he does have jurisdiction to hear the case and a prohibition “may not be employed as a substitute for an appeal in the ordinary course of law.”
Residents fear the lime sludge endangers an aquifer that is the source of their drinking water.
• Feb. 23. Benton Township trustees filed a complaint in common pleas court, asking for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Judge Winters issued a restraining order and scheduled a hearing for March 7 on the question of the preliminary injunction.
• March 1. Craig Butler, director of the Ohio EPA, filed a motion to intervene and motion to dismiss the case.
• March 2. Rocky Ridge and Custom Ecology, doing business as Stansley Industries, filed motions to dismiss.
• March 8. Judge Winters, after an extensive hearing, issues his denial of the EPA motion and enjoins the company from disposing the sludge until it is in compliance with township zoning regulations.
• March 14. The Ohio Supreme Court denies the EPA’s and company’s request for an emergency stay of the judge’s decision but agrees to an expedited consideration of a writ of prohibition.
• March 17. Judge Winters files his response.