Port Authority: Don’t own ‘Pits’ any more

LISBON – The Columbiana County Port Authority no longer owns any property in an area outside Wellsville that attracts off-road riding enthusiasts from all over the region.

Port authority legal counsel Tim Brookes pointed that out at last week’s board meeting after reading a story about Yellow Creek Township trustees intending to seek the port authority’s help in addressing problems that go on in the area known as The Pits.

The area of old strip mines attracts off-road riders of all sorts, such as ATVs, dirt bikes, buggies and Jeeps. During a recent meeting, trustees said they received complaints from township residents over the noise and dust generated by trail riders in the area of 16 School Road and 25th Street Heights.

More than 4,000 people were expected at The Pits over the Memorial Day weekend, and the Wellsville Fire Department was inundated with complaints, which they began passing on to the trustees.

Trustees believe most of the property belongs to the port authority, but Brookes said that is no longer the case. “We do not at present own any property up on that hill,” he said. “It’s all Planck’s now.”

The remaining 235 acres owned by the port authority were transferred in March to Planck Trading Solutions, which says it intends to build a plant there that would convert natural gas to synthetic diesel and jet fuel.

The port authority initially acquired a total of 510 acres in Yellow Creek Township for the Baard Energy project, which later fell through, with Planck stepping in and purchasing the property.

Brookes said he intends to contact the trustees to tell them the port authority no longer owns any of the land in problem area.