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2 Biomass parcels change owners

SOUTH POINT — This time the owner didn’t show up to save his property as the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation bought two of the smaller parcels that make up the inactive Biomass operation adjacent to The Point industrial park.

The two parcels went on the auction block Monday morning with an LEDC representative bidding the minimum on them. Sale prices were $2,903.91 and $6,546.34.

The parcels are sites of a landfill following a cleanup and an ash pond and would not be marketable, Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the LEDC, said at the time the sale was advertised.

“There should be some kind of public ownership to take control of them (for safety reasons),” he said.

Back taxes on those parcels, including taxes for this year, total more than $5,000. On top of that no taxes on any of the six parcels have been paid for 2014, that adds up to almost $15,000.

However Biomass owner Mark Harris did contact the office of the county treasurer on Monday to attempt to redeem one of the parcels.

“He didn’t have sufficient funds,” Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham said. “He has up to the date of sale confirmation. Once the sale confirmation is ordered by the county court, the sale is final. It can be as quick as three days.”

In January Harris made an 11th hour payment on delinquent taxes on four of six parcels he owns near The Point to keep them from being sold.

Dingus was at the courthouse ready to bid on them.

The two parcels that were sold on Monday were pulled from that auction because the prosecutor’s office had learn that there was a mortgage on them that needed to be investigated.

In August, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed against Harris, Biomass, Harris’ son, Tyler Harris and the son’s company, Renewable Resources, over their alleged illegal demolition and renovation at the Biomass facility.

The action was filed at the written request of the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and focused on alleged improper removal of asbestos.

Since a jury trial was not requested in the case, it was transferred to the magistrate. According to the clerk of courts website, no trial date has been set and the court is still attempting to serve the defendants.