2009-02-14 / News

Tree preservation group proposes rules

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE - A Buckeye Lake citizen's group is paving the way to stop developers from paving over the village's trees.

The group organized at the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club April 2008 to discuss tree preservation in the village and has met regularly since then to create village ordinances to establish a tree commission and protect the village's trees from development and negligence. Group members include Annetta Macedonia, J-Me Braig, Lisa Bowers, Crystal Davis, and Clay Carrol, who is also a member of the village planning commission. Mayor Frank Foster said the group of concerned citizens is self-appointed. "They saw an issue and took it upon themselves to address it," he said.

Monday night, they offered council a piece of suggested legislation to resolve primarily the issue of developers removing trees without regard to the aesthetic affect upon the village as a whole, said Foster. This legislation would also provide guidance for the trees on public land such as parks and right of ways. It has intentionally been designed to address only lots larger than one acre to avoid undue hardship on virtually all residents. The group's goal is to stop developers from clear cutting large areas of trees-the Landings at Maple Bay project for examplewithout hindering the village's ability to attract badly needed development.

Council members will review the group's proposed legislation for a likely vote during the next council meeting.

Foster was clear that the ordinances do not apply to private properties smaller than one acre, which exempts the vast majority of village residences. The ordinance would, however, apply to trees that present a public safety hazard.

According to the proposed ordinance, developers who remove trees have three options: they must replace downed trees elsewhere on the development property, donate trees to a village "tree bank" where they will be held until they can be transplanted somewhere in the village, or developers can contribute money to a village tree fund.

Macedonia said Sunbury, Ohio already reviewed and passed the Buckeye Lake plan for its own use.

In other council news:

• Director of Development Valerie Hans said more than 950 residents and businesses have signed up for public water and that number may increase to 960 very soon. The total does not include the village's trailer parks - Buckeye Lake Estates and Leisure Village - and exceeds the village's goal of 900 customers. The village can complete the distribution system cost-effectively without the trailer parks, she said, but all water customers' rates would lower if the trailer parks access the system. Hans said the 950-customer total may lower the village's estimated monthly fees, but that will depend upon the cost of installing the distribution system. The project is out to bid. The bids will be read publicly Thursday, Feb. 26, 4 p.m., at the Village Hall. Foster expects to receive many bids.

• Hans said that Waters Edge Ministries, (740) 928-4683, participates in Angel Food Ministries. According to the organization's web site, Angel Food Ministries a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States, including Buckeye Lake. The program began in 1994 with 34 families in Monroe, Georgia and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 35 states. Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one could purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can receive, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications; everyone is encouraged to participate. Some churches even encourage participants to apply the money they saved to help someone else in need.

• Council approved a resolution authorizing Foster to enter into a contract with the Licking Township Fire Company to provide emergency medical services to the Maple Bay and Hunts Landing area residents of Licking Township.

• Rosebraugh Circle residents asked to dedicate their street to the village so village crews can rebuild and maintain the street after water lines are installed. Foster said the village must repair the street surface after the water lines are installed anyway, so the village may as well continue to maintain the street.

• The village is placing a one-mill operating levy on the May ballot. Its revenue is intended to maintain the village's streetlights, although by law the ballot cannot specifically name where the levy's revenue is going. Foster said council members will work to inform voters about the levy and why it's needed. He added that the village may also place a police levy on the November ballot.

• Council President Charlene Hayden said the village parks and recreation commission still needs another member, if anyone's willing to volunteer. She said male volunteers are preferred because currently all the commissioners are women.

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