2013-10-05 / News

New rules approved for right-of-way work

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT – Walnut Township Trustees unanimously approved a new township road right-of-way permit Tuesday night.

Road supervisor Tim King said the new application is based on Fairfield County’s. “This one gives us complete control,” King told trustees. The permit covers anything using the township road right-of-way including residential drives, field drives, commercial drives, temporary drives, ditch enclosures, field drainage, earth grading, tree trimming/removal and boring.

“We have more teeth in it,” King added. The permits are free, but if unpermitted work is done in the typical 40-foot roadway rightof way, the township can stop the work and restore the right-of-way at the offender’s expense.

Concrete driveways will be permitted up to the township road, avoiding a battle that could have ended up in court. Driveways must be constructed one half inch below the edge of the existing road and then sloped away from the road. That’s required to make sure that water from the driveway isn’t forced onto the road.

Property owners are asked to keep the right-of-way clear. Only grass should be planted in this area. No flowers, trees or bushes should be planted in the area, nor should any vehicles or boats be parked there.

Trustees also agreed to unanimously renew contracts with the Villages of Buckeye Lake and Millersport to provide road salt to treat icy roads. The township can only pass on its exact cost which is $48.84 per ton this year. Trustees opted not to add a loading fee.

Trustee chair Terry Horn said the MetroFax system is up and running. Trustees unanimously agreed to remove the dedicated fax line, saving $35 per month. By a 2-1 vote, trustees also decided to cancel their $216 a year subscription to the Eagle Gazette.

Horn announced that two properties have been added to the potential demolition list under the Moving Ohio Forward program. They are:

• 8901 Lancaster-Thornville Road (New Salem); and

• 8920 Lancaster-Thornville Rd. (New Salem).

There are now six properties on the list. Nothing will happen to them unless all costs are totally reimbursed by Moving Ohio Forward. Horn said interim zoning inspector Billy Phillips is making progress on getting the house destroyed by fire at 13050 Shell Beach Road cleaned up.

The meeting was also marked by a contentious exchange between Horn and retiring Trustee Sonny Dupler. Horn brought up Dupler’s letter in The Beacon that claimed Horn broke a state “mandate” about no passengers riding in a township vehicle.

Dupler grudgingly admitted he was wrong about the “mandate,” blaming The Beacon for using the word “law.” Dupler went on to claim that passengers should not be hauled as a general rule due to the liability to the township. Horn said he signed a waiver for his passengers during the Sweet Corn Festival parade.

Horn asked Dupler why he wrote the letter instead of proposing a driving policy for the township. “I got fed up with you making up your own rules,” Dupler responded.

Former Trustee Wally Gabriel, who was at the meeting, said trustees, including Dupler, have hauled their wives in township trucks for the parade for years. He added that Horn shouldn’t have hauled the third person.

“It is petty to bring this up in public,” Gabriel added. “It needs to be dropped.”

“Do you have any other concerns you plan bring out in the paper?” Horn asked Dupler. “It’s none of your business,” Dupler responded. “This is the place to discuss public business,” Horn added.

Horn was also upset with an ad Dupler placed last week in a local shopper stating that the township couldn’t afford four more years of its trustees. “Share our expenditures that you disagree with,” Trustee Bill Yates told Dupler.

Horn proceeded to recount disagreements over purchasing a new truck and his purchase of a $75 hole punch.

“I want to get it out of your system,” Horn told Dupler. “Why don’t you stick to the agenda; I’m tired of your mouth,” Dupler responded.

The two also sparred over health insurance. Dupler said The Beacon was wrong to report that Yates doesn’t take health insurance. He said Yates receives a $230 per month payment and Horn gets $99 per month. The payments, up to a maximum of $400 per month, are incentives for any employee to use other insurance. Horn noted that the township pays about $1,700 a month for Dupler’s health insurance. Horn said a 2009 letter to The Beacon from trustees falsely stated that their health insurance had a $5,000 deductible. “ It (deductible) is totally reimbursed,” Horn said. The township will no longer provide paid health insurance to trustees starting next year.

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