Milestone Contractors wants work from the upcoming Revive I-70 project that will expand the interstate, improve interchanges and update bridges.

The company plans to soon bid on the first phase of Revive’s Wayne County portion, stretching from the Ohio state line to the Williamsburg Pike/U.S. 35 interchange, and its bid received a boost Jan. 10 from Richmond’s Board of Zoning Appeals. The BZA approved 3-1 a variance of use that permits Milestone to have a temporary portable concrete plant and concrete recycling operation at its existing 3408 Chester Blvd. facility.

Scott Hester of Milestone said the facility’s location just north of I-70, its 75-acre size and an easement that enables direct access to the interstate provide a unique situation for a more effective bid. The facility is a legal nonconforming use in the general commercial zoning district that dates to Mike DeLucio and Sons Contractors operating on the site, but adding a use requires city approval.

George Sowers, a Richmond attorney who represented Milestone before the BZA, said the concrete plant would be more than 800 feet west of U.S. 27 at the rear of the 75-acre plot and would be barely visible from the roadway. The easement at the west end of the property would limit construction traffic on U.S. 27 or other local roads. Milestone said it has used such direct interstate access on other projects.

Steve Friess, a Milestone vice president at its Indianapolis site, said the concrete plant would arrive from another location, then would leave the U.S. 27 facility as soon as the I-70 project is completed. Hester said Milestone is not 100% sure concrete will be used during the project, because the company might discover asphalt is a better choice.

Keri Reynolds, a sales manager for US Aggregates, supported Milestone’s request because her company would help supply Milestone. She said the project would likely result in the company adding a second shift to meet Milestone’s demand.

Leighanne Hahn, the pretreatment coordinator for Richmond Sanitary District, and neighboring property owner Donna Kitchel expressed environmental concerns, including runoff impacting the nearby river, dust and noise. Friess said there is no runoff from production and runoff from cleaning trucks is treated to ensure it’s at proper pH levels. Milestone also must meet standards for rainwater runoff and air quality.

Kitchel referenced a 2020 Common Council decision that denied Milestone’s rezoning request that would have added an asphalt mixing plant to the property. She said community members spoke clearly against Milestone expanding the use of its facility and BZA members have a responsibility to the voting public. They should not approve the petition until sure beyond doubt the concrete plant would not harm humans, animals or the environment.

BZA member Sayward Salazar indicated she did have concerns about environmental impacts and was inclined to table the petition to receive more information. Members Jeff Cook, Ann Snider and Kelley Cruse-Nicholson, however, proceeded with the vote and approved the petition that permits the concrete plant until Dec. 31, 2028.

Other decisions

In another 3-1 vote, the BZA members denied a petition that would have permitted a car lot at 917 N. 18th St. The petition requested a variance of use for the property zoned urban residential.

The property had non-conforming status for a car lot that existed from 1990 through 2000, but that status was lost during the two-decade gap. 

City planning staff recommended denial because the car lot would have an adverse impact on neighboring properties and does not fit the neighborhood. Several neighbors supplied letters opposing the car lot, saying the previous business was a blight in the neighborhood with trash, tires and junk cars.

Cruse-Nicholson supported the project.

BZA members did unanimously approve a petition for two variances of development standards for a house behind the Quality Inn and Conference Center at 5501 National Road E. Hotel managers have lived in the house since the late 1990s.

Property owner Shree Tulsidas Richmond Inc. wants to separate the 1 acre residential parcel, which would then have an Old National Road address, from the overall 6.5-acre plot. The front of the house, which faces the hotel parking lot, would then not face the road of its address and there would not be enough space between the driveway from Old National Road and the west boundary.

Approval of the petition enables the separation.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 17 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.