2014-04-12 / News

Trustees address obstructions placed in ditches

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – Monday night, Union Township Trustees discussed a letter sent to a Stone Valley Drive resident from the Licking County Prosecutor’s office telling the resident to remove stones from a ditch at his property thought to be backing up storm water drainage.

According to the April 4 letter, the resident has five days from its receipt to remove the stones, or township crews will complete the job, and then charge the resident for the work. Trustees said the township’s culverts are the township’s responsibility and the resident wasn’t authorized to place the stones in the ditch. Also, the warning states the township tried unsuccessfully to contact the resident earlier.

Trustee John Slater said Monday night that the stones basically created a dam, blocking water from culvert beneath the resident’s driveway.

“We don’t want to set a precedent where anyone can place anything in a ditch,” he said, adding that residents need to discuss doing so with the township ahead of time.

Trustee Charles Prince said he was concerned that another Stone Vally Drive resident had similarly placed stones in the ditch along side the road, but had not been ordered to remove them. He added that he looked at the ditch during Monday afternoon’s heavy rain and saw little backup of storm water.

Slater said Wednesday that the letter is really to “initiate a conversation” with the resident and the prosecutor’s office suggested the language about the township completing the work and charging for it if the resident doesn’t comply. He said the township would go ahead and do the work if the resident won’t, but it’s his sincere hope that the resident will contact the township so something can be worked out. “We’re hoping he makes some sort of contact,” Slater said.

“We tried and tried and tried to contact him,” said Trustee President Rick Black, including leaving notification on his door.

Slater said that unfortunately for the resident who received the letter, his property is at the bottom of an incline, so anything he does with his ditch disrupts storm water drainage for properties with a higher elevation. He said other stones further upstream were planned and are helping control erosion. Slater said the resident who received the letter didn’t dig his ditch deeper to accommodate the new stones, and that’s what’s causing the problem.

In other township news:

• Trustees will accept bids until April 21 from mowing companies wanting to mow the township’s cemeteries and the property around the Union Township Complex. Slater said trustees hope to award a contract at their May 5 meeting, assuming one of the bids has an acceptable price. If not, Slater said township crews may continue to mow the properties.

Black said the township would either have to bid the mowing out or hire additional personnel to mow so township crews can devote their time to road repairs. It’s a matter of which method is more cost effective. Bid information is available on the township’s web site, www.uniontownship.net.

Prince initiated the process after learning that the township’s two-man, full-time road crew was spending about 50 percent of their time during the summer, mowing the cemeteries and around the complex. “They are much more valuable working on the roads,” he explained.

• Nathan Schroeder of the Plain City based American Pavements, Inc. offered trustees his company’s services for crack sealing roads and surface treatment. He said American Pavements offers micro surfacing or slurry surfacing, which creates a better surface than standard chip and seal paving. The process significantly reduces tracking which can be a big problem with chip and seal and there is no dust. Schroeder said American Pavements charges roughly $25,000 to $35,000 per mile for a two-lane road.

Black said some of the chip and seal the township applied last year isn’t “holding up,” and he’d be interested in seeing some prices. But, he also wanted references before he’d be willing to hire them.

Prince agreed it as worth receiving some price quotes. “Let’s look at it in the real world,” he said.

“I’m extremely skeptical,” said Slater Wednesday. He’s uncertain the cost of the work is worth the benefit to the roads.

Black said Wednesday that American Pavements’ methods are more expensive than chip and seal, but hot mix, which can crumble in two years, costs nearly $40,000 per mile. “It’s certainly worth looking at,” he said.

• Trustees decided to take more time to review financial resources and expected road resurfacing costs before deciding whether Union Township should join the Grow Licking County. It is a Community Improvement Corporation with a board of directors from both the public and private sectors that serves as Licking County’s economic development agency. Its mission is to provide a single, comprehensive resource to help business expand or relocate to Licking County. It’s been described as a “one stop shop” where potential developers can obtain consistent information on nearly any development site in Licking County.

Last month, Licking County Director of Economic Development Dan Evers attended a trustees meeting to explain the benefits of Union Township joining.

Black said currently no Licking County townships are CIC members. “ Every township should be partnering with this,” he said. Black said the CIC would accept whatever the township could afford as a membership due. Organizations usually pledge to three-year membership periods.

Slater said he wanted to be certain the township’s existing infrastructure would be included in the CIC’s efforts to bring new economic development to the county. He said the CIC has generally supported investors who are building new structures on county land.

Prince said he hopes the CIC keeps an inventory of existing vacant or underutilized buildings in the county.

“We need to get in there at a level we can afford,” said Slater, adding it’s really important to him that existing structures are considered for development or repurposing at least as much as new structures.

Prince suggested pledging a maximum of $2,500 per year for the three year commitment.

While the trustees seemed amenable to this fee, they decided to wait until at least the next meeting before committing to anything.

• Trustees will open a section of old Ohio 79 near the Thornwood Drive and Beaver Run Road intersection to public access. A resident asked trustees if the township was responsible for maintaining the small section of roadway, which was basically forgotten when the new Ohio 79 was created. Trustees discovered it is the township’s responsibility to maintain it and stop and dead end signs will be installed. Slater said he’s not sure the person who brought up the subject really wanted public access to the road, but the township will maintain it. “Everybody should be happy with reservations,” he said. It will be maintained as a gravel road.

• Road Supervisor Dave Cable said the township used about 1,200 tons of salt this winter. Roughly 100 tons remain. He ordered 650 tons for the summer fill and take another 585 to 715 tons for the winter fill.

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