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DASH loses court appeal

A decision and judgment was filed Tuesday against residents in the appeal challenging the Ohio EPA’s orders to sewer Devola.

The appeal was filed last year by Greg DeGulis, attorney for Devola Against Sewering Homes (DASH). He appeared in court in November to present oral arguments challenging the OEPA’s orders.

According to the decision filed in the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth Appellate District, Washington County, “DASH raises a single assignment of error which contends that the trial court erred in denying it’s motion to intervene.”

“However, because we have concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying DASH’s motion, we find no merit to the sole assignment of error raised on appeal,” the document states. “Accordingly, the assignment of error is overruled and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.”

DASH is made of opponents of the Washington County Sewer Project, formerly known as the Devola Sewer Project, which will affect approximately 560 households using either drywall disposal systems or septic tanks for wastewater.

Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil, who represents the Washington County Commission in these lawsuits, said this was the same suit in which the EPA filed against the commissioners to compel them to fulfill the orders of the EPA director to sewer.

She said the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to intervene.

“The main reason was that DASH did not act in a timely manner,” explained Coil. “There are essentially two conditions to grant the motion. The first is the timeliness of the motion. The second is going to be that they met the substantive requirements for intervention.”

She said the court found they could meet the threshold of timeliness.

“I would say that (the court) thought they had multiple opportunities to have intervened at an earlier time, and they did not take advantage,” she said. “Because of that, there would be too great a prejudice going forward to have them interfere at this time. Commissioners are already adhering to the order.”

DeGulis said this was the end of the line in regards to the appeal court, but they still have an administrative appeal with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission that is still pending.

He is appealing the director’s granting of the permit to install, which was granted to the board of commissioners.

DeGulis said the appeal was filed in early April and this would be a shorter process than a normal court case, so a decision would probably be made within six months.

At the time of the appeal, he said if they lose at ERAC, the permit will stand and the county would be able to move forward with sewering.

“We had kind of a status conference about that (Wednesday),” Coil said. She moved to intervene in the appeal with ERAC “just so we would have a voice during that ERAC appeal process.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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