2013-05-18 / Editorials & Letters

‘Watchdog’ still keeping an eye on Kirkersville

Editor:

According to the April council minutes, Kirkersville waived the “right-of-way” fee for the Kirkersville Elementary school to get water. But they still have to pay an application fee of $1000 and then a one time, up front fee of $7500!

Also in the April minutes, council went into a closed meeting...an executive session. However, the minutes do not reflect what the reason was. In Ohio, the Open Meetings Act (ORC 121.22) allows a public body to hold a non-public session at a meeting but only in limited circumstances. There are only seven reasons a public body can do so and they MUST state which one (or more) of the reasons to shut the public out of the meeting! By disclosing the purpose of the executive session, “the decision-making processes of the public body” remains open.

The March minutes of Kirkersville reflect a statement that shows that Kirkersville still has an ongoing zoning/legal issue with their former GOB Zoning Chairman, Mike Cloud. The minutes say, “the daughter of Tom Wilson Manufactured Homes was present along with her father and said she just wanted to figure out what is going on with the Cloud property as that is their manufactured home that is sitting on the lot and they won’t get paid until the issue is resolved. (Solicitor) Brian Zets said the court just had a basic status conference, setting up dates, not much came about. He said they are hoping to get this resolved soon. Mr. Wilson said he is out $70,000 and might have to have his attorney do something.”

I wrote about this issue last year and I will repeat it for an anonymous letter writer. Last year, former Kirkersville Zoning Commission Chairman, Mike Cloud, tried to replace his single wide mobile home with a double wide mobile home.

It seems Cloud has been encroaching on his neighboring property for 39 years! Cloud bought a 70’ mobile home in 1972 to put on his property. His property has less than 70’ road frontage yet he placed the trailer parallel to the road. Plat maps show the trailer is more than half over the property line. While I am not sure if the neighboring property is government property (the map shows that it is reserve land), I would bet that Mike Cloud knew when he put the mobile home there that the property wasn’t his! In fact, Mike Cloud was a Kirkersville council member in 1972 and I believe a member of zoning! It was his job to know where his property line was. He has been using land that belongs to someone else RENT FREE and TAX FREE!

A letter to Cloud from current Kirkersville Zoning Inspector John Thomas, says, “Due to the recent property line discrepancies discovered during a recent survey of your property the zoning permit issued to you on March 28, 2012, has been voided until the matter is resolved. A review of village records (village sewer survey drawings) clearly show the original mobile home was encroaching on the (neighboring property) by approximately fifty feet and the north end of the existing garage is within + or - three feet of your north property line. Both of these conditions are violations of the Kirkersville Zoning Ordinance, therefore no further work will be permitted on this project until a new zoning application is completed in compliance with current regulations. A copy of the new survey with building locations shown will be required with the new application.”

Cloud replied, “We have lived in this location, as I have previously stated for 39 years and this information has never been brought to my attention. However, when I applied for a Zoning permit to build a modular home in the same location, I was told that it was okay to do so.” Cloud’s letter continues by questioning why there were no surveys or property tax maps prior to the issuance of his permit. He also claims that he “followed all the rules of obtaining my permits with expectations that all this information had to be reviewed before I could have a contractor do any type of construction. It was the zoning department and the building department of this county that ensured me that all the requirements were met for me to do the construction that is now completed.” Cloud continues by questioning how they can “void a permit that was issued to me, and required by law, to begin construction after the fact?”

I can answer part of Cloud’s question. Cloud was issued a permit based on TRUTHFUL answers on the “Application For Zoning Certificate.” The very top of the application states: The undersigned hereby applies for a Zoning Certificate for the following use, to be issued on the basis of the representations contained herein, all of which applicant swears to be true.” Cloud’s zoning permit application (filled out by Cloud) claims that he has 140’ road frontage when he CLEARLY has less than half of that amount.

Mike Cloud has been a public official involved in the planning and zoning of Kirkersville even as far back as 1972 WHEN HE PUT THE MOBILE HOME ON THAT NEIGHBORING PROPERTY! As many times as Cloud has examined the maps and zoning in Kirkersville, you will never convince me, and a lot of other people, that he didn’t know exactly where his property lines were! When given a map of your neighborhood, who doesn’t look at their own property first?!

I believe Mr. Cloud has manipulated the system for 39 years and had friends in the county to help him “cloud” this problem! I also believe that Mike Cloud should be treated the way he has treated others! In fact, he should get EXACTLY what he has dished out to people over the past 39 years and he should be made to move his trailer onto his own property; the only property he has been taxed for! He should not be allowed to keep property that he has NOT paid taxes on; property that he has NOT paid for; property that he KNOWS he does not own!

I will certainly keep this issue in my sights and will let the people know of any new developments!

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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