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Letter: South Heart residents don’t agree with annexation

Approximately 70 people attended a public hearing at the South Heart School on Monday evening, March 4, to voice their opinions regarding the annexation and rezoning of 141 acres at the entrance to South Heart.

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This property lies south of Highway 10 and just to the west of Pheasant Country Golf Course. If annexed, the city would plan to rezone this property from agricultural to industrial for the end user Schlumberger Oilfield Services, which would have 100 employees operating 24/7, 365 days per year. Schlumberger is a large oilfield service company with large trucks providing fracking, wireline service, seismic surveys and cement products for the oilfield.

There were many questions and concerns about water and sewer requirements, water retention and runoff, noise, radioactive chemicals, offensive lighting, dust, etc. Several residents were concerned about the appearance of an industrial park while driving into South Heart and safety issues with many additional large trucks entering Highway 10 and 121st Avenue Southwest — an already-dangerous intersection.

In recent years, many people have moved to South Heart and purchased land, homes, and/or built new homes because of the “quality of life” this quiet residential community with a good school and nice golf course has to offer.

After applying for the “quiet zone” with the railroad, I find it hard to believe that the city council would even consider “spot zoning” a large oilfield trucking company industrial park at the entrance to our quiet town. This is definitely not compatible with the existing land uses of residential, ag and the nice golf course. There are already several industrial subdivisions within Stark County that would have room for Schlumberger.

Despite the promise of more jobs, growth and added revenue for the city of South Heart, there were no residents who spoke out in favor of the annexation plan. The South Heart City Council tabled the annexation decision until a special meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 at South Heart City Hall.

It appears to me that the overwhelming majority of South Heart residents do not approve of this annexation. We can only hope the city council votes the wishes of its residents and not trade our “quality of life” for potential tax revenue.

See you at the meeting Wednesday.

Don Schmeling, South Heart