‘It’s so loud’: Homeowners upset over where tornado sirens are going up

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LAWRENCE TWP., Ohio -- For eight years trustees have been working on a project to get five new tornado sirens.

Last fall, trustee Lawrence Kamph, was successful getting a federal grant to buy and put up the sirens. Their locations were carefully selected by a company contracted to maximize the coverage area with the required overlap of each siren.

But after three years of living on Orville Street Northwest, Brian and Andrea Howman said they knew nothing about the plan until they saw a surveying crew outside of their home on Monday.

"We had no idea why they were here and so we were asking them pretty much what they were doing with shovels and things out on our lawn and they said, 'oh,' they were putting in a tornado siren,"said Andrea.

The siren is expected to be put up just a few yards from their front door next to their mailbox and that of a neighbor.

"It's so loud. It would be the equivalent of somebody standing next to you three feet away with an air horn in your ear," said Andrea.

Kamph said they are not the only homeowners in the neighborhood who are upset.

But he said at this point there is nothing they can do.

"I wish I could do something about it, but I can't. It's just that's the way it's going to be. September 1st, we have to have everything done, sealed, paid for and everything in order to keep the grant. If we don't have it done by then, we lose the grant," said Kamph.

With lots of open farmland in Lawrence Township, the Howmans and others wonder why the siren could not have been put there instead.

"They can be run off of solar panels they can be planted in the middle of a field where they still have an effective coverage, but they won't be in somebody's front yard," said Brian Howman.

Kamph said he feels for the residents in the neighborhood but the locations were chosen by a contractor, who worked with a detailed computerized program, and not by him.

He said all of the meetings about the sirens over the past eight years have been public and have been published in newspapers.

Kamph also said the hardware for the sirens has already been delivered. They are just waiting on the poles sometime next week to start putting them up.

"I don't think there's any changing the site so that's not going to be good for them, but it's all in the perimeter to make overlap for every one of them so we don't lose anybody in the township," said Kamph.

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