Southside neighbors forge ahead with limestone plant fight

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A neighborhood on Indianapolis’ south side is moving forward with its fight to keep a limestone processing plant away from their homes.

Wednesday night, the Germania Creek Neighborhood Association voted to take their concerns all the way to a final Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.

“I’ve learned a lot more about limestone than I ever wanted to know and zoning for that matter,” said Glenda Hueber.

Glenda Hueber lives right across from the site of a proposed limestone processing facility at a property on South Bluff Road. She’s been almost single-handedly leading her neighborhood’s fight against the special use zoning petition.

“You can be a criminal and get the state to provide an attorney, appoint an attorney for you, but your average citizen, they’re paying lots of money to get represented,” said Hueber.

Petitioner Brian Moench and his legal representative Russell Brown joined the other petition representatives at a meeting with neighbors. They told the concerned residents the plant is needed to finish the Citizens Energy Deep Rock Tunnel in a cost-effective manner.

“Any public project should be concerned about the bottom line,” said Brown. “This is one of the things you can do to try to make that happen.”

As we’ve reported before, that tunnel would help handle the city’s sewage overflow problem. But neighbors there tonight say the issue should not be solved in their backyards.

Moench and others presented their plan for minimizing the impact of the facility to neighbors.

“We try to do everything we can to be responsible neighbors,” said Brown. “I think that’s reflected in the plan of operation that’s proposed, as well as the site design and we’ll try to continue to do that.”

The proposal outlined the planned schedule of operation, while maintaining that the construction schedule would be at the discretion of Citizens Energy.

They also showed residents their plans for mitigating the noise and limestone dust, offering to allow local code enforcement authorities to oversee the levels of dust in the air if residents dropped their remonstrance against the facility.

“We live in a society that has zoning laws and part of that is that sometimes you get uses that you’d prefer not to be next to,” said Brown.

But neighbors say it’s not that they prefer not to live next to the facility; they’re afraid to.

Many told the petitioners they understand the project will benefit the entire city. They just don’t understand why their neighborhood, a relatively industrial area already, has to bear so much of the cost.

“There’s just a large age group that have health issues already that don’t need another thing in the air around here for us to breathe,” said Hueber.

Tonight, some of the Germania Creek residents who voted to drop the fight said they did so because they don’t believe the neighborhood can beat the petitioners. But those who voted to continue the remonstrance are holding out hope that if they pack the hearing, the board will rule in their favor.

The final decision will be made on Tuesday, July 19 at 1 p.m. in the City-County Building.

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