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Homeowners near future site of Intel's factory meet with company

Intel sent letters to homeowners who live across from and around the Licking County site.

LICKING COUNTY, Ohio — As part of what Intel said is a series of community gatherings to answer questions from concerned homeowners about what to expect when Intel begins construction, homeowners on Thursday met at the Johnstown Library to listen to what representatives of the chip giant had to say.

An Intel spokesperson tells 10TV the meeting focused on the overall development including new renderings of the project and the white picket fencing that will circle it. Intel said homeowners were shown the berms that will be constructed to block noise and lighting at the site.

Intel was expected to detail construction schedules that it said will begin this Friday and likely involve a six-day work week.

"We are committed to engaging with our neighbors in the community. We want to be an asset in the community; we welcome their feedback and engagement," said Intel's spokesperson Linda Quian.

The media was not allowed to attend.

Intel paused its ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for July 22 over uncertainty involving the funding of the CHIPS Act. 10TV spoke to the assistant secretary of commerce President Joe Biden's administration who said he expects a deal to be done before the end of July.

Meanwhile, homeowner Josh Westfall whose 5.5-acre property sits across the road from the Intel plant on Green Chapel Road said he has a lot of questions about what's about to be built across the street

"Are they going to need some of our land? What's going to happen to our wells?" He said he also wonders about noise and his property value.

Landers: Do you feel you've been communicated with enough to make an informed decision about what your future may be?
Westfall: The short answer is no.

Westfall said if someone makes him a good offer he's gone.

"If Intel wasn't moving here, I loved to stay here, but I don't want to stay here and look at a parking lot," he said.

Then there's Bob Fry whose home sits on Miller Road.

It's part of the Intel road expansion project.

He's having to move out a month early because the New Albany Company wants homeowners out of the area as construction ramps up.

He said the New Albany Company is paying for him to move.

Landers:  Are they paying for the house that they are moving you to?
Fry: Yes, so just because of the upheaval of this.

He said those who've sold their homes to make way for Intel received generous offers to move.

"They are getting way over book what the houses are worth," Fry said.

Fry said the money will force more to move.

"I think everybody is going to budge because they'll get the price. I don't know anybody on this road haven't got their price," Fry said.

Meanwhile, the landscape is rapidly changing here.

Roads are expanding, new power lines are up, trees and homes are coming down.

Not everyone is happy about it.

For people like Josh Westfall, who moved here three years ago, he's waiting to see what happens once his two-lane road turns into five lanes.

"My assumption is we won't be here to see a five lane. I assume someone who wants to buy my property wants to be across the street from Intel," said Westfall.

Intel said it hopes to hire a full-time community liaison to help answer community concerns soon.

Last Friday, the Ohio EPA approved Intel's isolated wetlands permit.

It will allow Intel to destroy a total of 37 wetlands on the property.

In exchange, Intel will offset that with 20 acres of wetlands somewhere else.

The EPA said the project will not impact private wells and there will be no impact to any public water supply.

You can read the report here.

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