ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Plans to develop an underground limestone mine in Anderson Township are a step closer to becoming a reality after a ruling by an Ohio appeals court.
The ruling comes over the objections of nearby residents and two villages.
Dozens of groups and individual citizens have been waging a court battle against Martin Marietta in hopes of preventing the corporate giant turning an old sand and gravel mine into a limestone mine, but yesterday Ohio's First District Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling allowing the project to go forward and that's bad news for opponents.
Newtown Village Mayor Mark Kobasuk believes the ruling is a setback.
"This is a devastating decision for the village of Newtown," said Kobasuk.
Kobasuk claims the village has been fighting the project for years.
Martin Marietta wants to build an underground mine with two tunnels running beneath the 480 acre site, but Kobasuk says the impact of the project would be disastrous.
"There's estimates of probably 500 trucks a day leaving that mine if it does open and that's going to congest Newtown, the noise, the traffic, the road damage," stated Kobasuk.
He also said there are serious environmental concerns such as pollution in the Little Miami River from discharge from the mine and underground blasting.
The project was approved by Anderson Township's Board of Zoning Appeals, but the matter wound up in court which ruled against the mine finding the Zoning Appeals Board illegally allowed mining in a residential area.
The court of appeals said the lower court's ruling is not supported by the evidence. FOX19 NOW's legal analyst, Mike Allen, says opponents of the project can still fight this.
"The obvious recourse at this point would be for them to try to get into the Ohio Supreme court. It's not guaranteed that they would get in. The Supreme Court's not obligated to take it. They have to agree to take it if it's a unique legal issue and certainly this one is so I think they have a good chance of getting into the Ohio Supreme Court."
However, Allen says if that happens opponents are in for a costly court fight. "This is going to be an extremely expensive fight. I'm certain it was at the trial level and also at the appellate level too, but the stakes are high."
Mayor elect Kobasuk says those stakes include quality of life, property values and the environment.
FOX19 NOW reached out to Martin Marietta, but no one has been available for comment.