The owners of Jones Topsoil have faced opposition for at least three years in their effort to mine gravel from an 89-acre site they own on Jackson Pike.

The owners of Jones Topsoil have faced opposition for at least three years in their effort to mine gravel from an 89-acre site they own on Jackson Pike.

Columbus City Council on July 19 ruled the fight isn't over.

Columbus council members unanimously rejected an annexation petition that's been on their books since December 2009. Jones hoped to annex the land to rezone it.

Jackson Township and Grove City officials have formally opposed the annexation because they say gravel mining is a dirty, noisy business that could lead Manheim Auto Auction, across state Route 104 from the Jones site, to move its 457-employee operation elsewhere.

Mining could also befoul the nearby Scioto River, elected officials have said in resolutions opposing Jones' plans.

Jones Fuel Co., the parent of Jones Topsoil, has owned the site north of Stringtown Road and southwest of I-270 since 1981. In 2001, Jackson Township officials granted a conditional use permit allowing Jones to mine topsoil there. When Jones wanted to mine an estimated $50-million in gravel there, township and Grove City officials balked.

Jones tried to annex the property to Columbus in 2008 in hopes of starting the gravel mine. Columbus council indefinitely tabled that petition.

The company tried again beginning last year when it introduced a new annexation petition to Columbus City Council.

A second reading of that ordinance was set for July 19.

Grove City law director Stephen Smith said the annexation would violate the Columbus-Grove City water services agreement. The agreement calls for the land between Jackson Pike and the Scioto River to be maintained as passive recreational space.

Jones attorney Rob Rishel disagrees.

"We read that a different way," he said.

Jones has taken topsoil from the site for more than three years but isn't removing it this year.

"Soil, obviously, is dustier than wet ground," Rishel said, "and the township gave us a permit to remove soil."

Jones is willing to make concessions to reduce dust, maintain clean roads and buffer the operation from nearby businesses and homes.

"Our No. 1 concern is to satisfy all concerns with Manheim," he said.

Jackson Township administrator Mike Lilly said Manheim could take its business out of state if the gravel operation is approved.

Rishel said gravel mining hasn't been proposed yet to Columbus officials. "It's going to require numerous permits and land use changes," he said

Ohio Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Ohio Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) urged Columbus council members to reject the annexation petition.

Development director Chuck Boso announced the result of the Columbus vote during a Grove City council meeting. The audience and council members cheered the news.

Jones won't abandon its efforts, Rishel said.

Calling the rejection "an interesting change in Columbus policy," Rishel said Jones "would explore all other avenues."