2007-12-15 / News

New property can't be filled

By Scott Rawdon

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE- Licking County floodplain administrator Jim Mickey will keep a close eye on property recently purchased for the Buckeye Lake Fire Department. He told the Buckeye Lake Village Council Monday night that the property, which lies in a flood plain, should work finefor its intended use as a parking lot, but regulations prohibit raising it to street-level with fill.

"The days of filling in our flood plains willy-nilly are about over," said Mickey. The village can move existing soil around on the property's surface, but it can't add more, nor can the village simply issue itself a variance if it wishes to do more with the property. "If you fillthat site, you actually push water onto another property," he said.

Mickey did not say that the property can never be more than just a parking lot, but he warned that there are many flood plain regulations to be met before the firedepartment could ever build a wing to its station, or some other structure on the property.

Mickey said the village recently adopted new flood plain regulations and it's extremely important that the village sets a good example by meeting its own requirements. If the village builds something that doesn't meet the floodplain regulations, it could jeopardize flood insurance rates.

Mayor Frank Foster said Tuesday that the village currently has no plans for the property other than a parking lot. He and Director of Development Valerie Hans invited Mickey to the meeting to discuss the flood plain issue.

Mickey said Tuesday that he passes the property to and from work every day, and he'll be watching it.

On a side note, Mickey said talks continue over the South Licking Watershed Conservancy District's proposal to create a 1,000 acre "dry dam" north of I-70.

To review the proposed $5 million South Licking Watershed Conservancy District's flood mitigation project, excess flood water would be contained in a 1,000 acre area, or dry dam, that is roughly west of Ohio 37 (behind the Pilot service station) and between I-70 and US 40 to the north.

As the name implies, the "dry dam" would only hold water during times of flooding. A nine feet high earthen containment wall would be built north of I-70, west of Ohio 37. The dry dam would release the water slowly via a bypass channel running along the northern side of I-70 and prevent flooding downstream.

Mickey said the project would remove about four square miles from the 100 year flood plain, including the Buckeye Lake Fire Department property.

"We're only going to see a positive impact," if the project moves forward, said Foster. He said about 1,000 people in Buckeye Lake would benefit from the project, although about 30 Union Township property owners would experience additional flooding.Mickey said they would be compensated for their loss. The project is still in the discussion stages and funding is being sought.

In other council news:

  • Resident Kay Allen said she's tired of hearing others say that people in Buckeye Lake are "stupid" for not knowing that former council member John Cortez - who is currently wanted by the Licking County Sheriff's department on 23 counts of unlawful sexual conduct with three minors and one count of corrupting three minors with drugs, specificallycocaine, in addition to one count of unlawfully possessing weapons - was a felon when he applied to run for council. Under Ohio law, convicted felons may not run for public office.Cortez was convicted of robbery in 1991, but indicated on his application that he was eligible to run for office.
  • Licking County Board of Elections Director Jay Morrow said the county does not routinely run background checks on those who run for office.It's generally taken on faith that the candidate is truthful on the application. Morrow said there's a period after an application is submitted when it can be challenged, but otherwise the applications are processed without background checks. Lying on an application to run for officeis a fifth degree felony.

    Council Clerk Tim Matheny said Monday night that no candidate has a background check unless a question is raised about that person and there can be literally hundreds of candidates at any given Licking County election.

    Foster said it's ironic that Cortez received the highest number of votes of any council candidate when he ran in 2005. He was first elected to council in 1999. Cortez lost his post in August for for missing eight council meetings in 2007.

    "The whole thing's just really unfortunate," said Foster.

    As of Wednesday, Cortez was still at large with an active warrant for his arrest.

  • Big-O Refuse sent a letter to council detailing its services to the village beginning Jan. 7. Big-O was awarded a five-year contract two weeks ago to serve as the exclusive residential waste hauler. The Newark based company has been serving Licking County residents for over 23 years and has over 15,000 residential and 1,200 commercial accounts.
  • "We will be picking up trash in your area on Mondays," the letter stated. "To register please call our toll free number at 888-924-2446 or fillout the enclosed registration form and mail or fax it back to our office.You may also drop it off at the Village Office.We cannot schedule anyone who does not sign up."

    Monthly service is $13.45 will includes a 95 gallon toter. Residents over the age of 62 will pay $12.20/ mo. Bills will be sent quarterly. Curbside recycling is available for $4/month. An 18 gallon container is provided for newspaper, plastic and glass bottles, aluminum and steel cans. A container to recycle cardboard will be available behind the Village Office.

  • Council decided not to have the City of Newark issue commercial building permits. Currently, the City of Newark issues residential building permits for the Village of Buckeye Lake and the State of Ohio issues commercial building permits for businesses and structures that house four or more families. Council member Hildi Hildebrant favored having one permitting authority.
  • The rejection means the developer of the Landings at Maple Bay subdivision will need permits from both offices,since some units will need residential permits while those with four or more units will need commercial permits.

    Council member Shelly Small (formerly Shelly Swick), said, "If it ain't broke, don't fixit." She added that she's heard that Newark can't handle the amount of business it has, "so they don't need more."

    However, Newark Building Code Director Jack Pryor, present at Monday night's meeting, said they could turn around a permit application as quickly as the state, and the city could issue partial permits if needed.

  • Council member Drew Bourne asked council to show its support for Council President Charlene Hayden, whom Bourne said is doing a great job as council president. Members agreed. Hayden faced criticism for seeking appointment to the two years remaining on Cortez's term, while she was also running for another four year term. The move guaranteed her a seat on council for the next two years, even though she came in last in the recent election. Hayden said she was "touched" by council's gesture. "I'm going to move forward to help this village in any way I can," she said.
  • Council exempted a 103-acre parcel from public water pre-assessment charges - the parcel is actually submerged beneath Buckeye Lake. Council members said they believed that the land under the lake is actually owned by the State of Ohio. Matheny said that's generally true, but, "as far as Licking County is concerned, (the parcel) is in the village."
  • Return to top