GREENVILLE — A longstanding impasse between a local business and the City of Greenville appears to be coming to an end.
The Erwin Bros. Trucking Company of Ansonia received word from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday that the EPA has approved the Erwin’s plan to set up a septic system at its fuel stop located at the intersection of U.S. Route 127 and State Route 49.
The EPA had previously approved the digging of a well for water last year. The business had been ready to open prior to December of last year, but lack of water and sewer has prevented its opening.
The approval, pending successful inspection of the water and septic installation, allows the Erwins to sidestep a pre-annexation agreement with the City of Greenville to provide water and sewer services to the business. As part of an agreement to sell water and sewer to the Erwins, the city had sought current and potential improvements at the property, such as the widening of a road between the fuel stop and the recently constructed Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) garage, and the possible installation of curbs, sidewalks and storm sewers.
The Erwins claimed the cost of the improvements was excessive, unnecessary, and did not adhere to the same parameters of a pre-annexation agreement signed with the nearby ODOT and Darke County South Industrial Park properties.
Before the fuel center can open, there will be a 30-day water testing period. If all conditions meet EPA requirements, and once the business gets approval from the Darke County Health Department, the fuel stop may open, in all likelihood at the end of May or early June.
Mike Erwin and Marc Erwin, the Erwin brothers, said it will be difficult to estimate how much business they’ve lost over the past six months.
“We won’t know that probably until six months down the road, until we can see what the numbers are,” said Mike.
When it does open, the business is expected to employ approximately 25 people.
“We plan on being open 24 hours eventually,” said Mike, who says that until everyone is hired and trained, the fuel center will be open for shorter hours. “That’ll probably be three months or so down the road after we open.”
Despite the long wait, both Erwins said they are thankful to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“We’ve had a lot of people hang in there with us,” said Marc. “Brian Wood and Kent James at Greenville National Bank, and Commissioner Mike Rhoades, and [Ohio Senator] Bill Beagle got involved. Without those guys, I don’t know where we’d be.”
“The people of the community have been behind us the whole way,” said Mike.
“It should have happened six months ago, but we’re here,” Marc added.
One of those spearheading the county’s effort to see the fuel stop open, Darke County Commissioner Mike Rhoades, said he was excited to see another business get started.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “All in all, I’m glad it’s happened.”
Despite a perception among some in the community that the city has not acted in good faith with the Erwins, Greenville Mayor Steve Willman said he believed the city was correct to insist upon its pre-annexation agreement stipulations.
“We still feel we were right holding out. We were trying to protect the citizens of Greenville from more expense down the road,” he said. “Most everyone we talked to, legally speaking, said we should hold our ground.”
Nonetheless, Willman said he was happy the business will finally be able to begin operating.
“I’m really happy they will be able to open up soon,” he said. “I drive by there almost every day and I look forward to stopping in and using their services.”
The city has 30 days to file an appeal with the EPA.