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Community reacts to proposed UDF fuel tanker facility

NORWOOD, Ohio (Angela Ingram) -- United Dairy Farmers meets a room full of opposition as it asks for permission to expand its headquarters in Norwood.

UDF wants to park gasoline tankers on a lot at the corner of Williams and Montgomery Road.  That property would've been surrounded by a tall, barbed wire fence.

Neighbors are concerned about the safety of having fuel trucks in the area.  But they also say visually the fence around the tankers would be too industrial-looking.  People who live in Norwood say UDF has been a great asset to the community.  But they have concerns about the company's next move.
UDF wants to use the old Kruse Hardware building at Williams and Montgomery as a dispatch center for drivers of UDF fuel trucks.

Kenneth Crawford  lives in Norwood and said, "I don't think it makes sense to have a hazmat security storage area right in the middle of our city."   

The plan  would also allow eight tankers on the empty lot nearby.  At a meeting of the Norwood Board of Zoning Appeals, UDF officials explained that the trucks would not have fuel in them.
But the issue before the board is an eight foot fence with three strands of barbed wire and no landscaping around it.

"We're trying to change the image of Norwood.  We changed the zoning along the Montgomery Road Corridor which is the face of Norwood," Lynn Ellis, a Norwood resident, said.
Neighbors brought signs against the plan saying that putting a huge fence with barbed wire on it on the main roads into town would ruin property values.

Ellis continued, "We're no longer an industrial hub here.  We're retail.  We're medical buildings.  We have beautiful projects at one end and at the other end Xavier."
And some have concerns about the message it sends children who would have to walk past it in order to get to a nearby school.

"I teach neglected and delinquent children at a secure facility and sometimes it's hard to watch how that affects kids," Crawford said.
Ultimately the zoning board denied UDF's request for a variance of the code to build the fence.  And without the fence UDF may have problems moving forward with plans to park the tankers.

The zoning board said it will deal with neighbors concerns about safety and how UDF plans to use the property at a later meeting.

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