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Licking Township appoints new zoning inspector

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustees unanimously hired resident Forrest Cooperrider as the township’s new part-time zoning inspector, following a lengthy interview process Monday night.

Cooperrider also serves on the Lakewood School Board. Trustee President Joe Hart said the decision came down to Cooperrider and resident Earl Simpson, and after much deliberation, trustees chose Cooperrider. Hart said it was a tough decision. “They were both very good candidates,” he said.

Cooperrider said there isn’t anything in particular he’ll be looking for as zoning inspector, other than what trustees ask him to investigate. “I think it’ll come looking for me,” he said. Cooperrider said he plans to establish a dedicated email address for the zoning inspector so the public can reach him more easily.

Hart said Trustee John Holman has been acting zoning inspector. He served as zoning inspector for several years before being elected trustee last November. Since technically he can’t be paid as zoning inspector while also trustee, he’s been volunteering his time as inspector. Trustees believed it was time to have a dedicated zoning inspector onboard.

Hart said in the trustees’ first round of advertising for the position, Simpson was the only candidate who lived within the township, and trustee felt like it was important for the inspector to do so. However, they believed it was unfair only to accept one candidate when it wasn’t clear trustees would only consider township residents. Hart said trustees readvertised the position as only open to township residents and several people applied. Hart said Holman narrowed the race down to Simpson and Cooperrider as the two best candidates and asked them to be interviewed.

Monday night, trustees also appointed resident Paul Ripko as an alternate on the township’s board of zoning appeals.

In other township news:

• Licking Township Fire Company Chief Mike Wilson said Harbor Hills resident Jared Tracy, a Newark firefighter, offered Licking Township the use of his dock to store the fire company’s fireboat, which is an 18’ Polar Kraft, which the Dive/Rescue Team donated to the township. The boat carries EMS supplies, a lifting mechanism, and a portable pump to fight fires.

Wilson said the boat is incredibly useful to the department, but until now it had to be towed to the lake on a railer, which significantly increased response time. He said as of Wednesday night, weather permitting, the boat will be docked at the lake in a secure place and easily accessed.

“We never had a good location to put it directly on the lake,” said Wilson. “We had to trailer it, which really slows it down. This is a pretty nice deal for us.”

Wilson said the fire company also has a 12’ jon boat, which the company uses for smaller lakes and ponds, and rivers.

• Trustee Dave Miller said the trustees continue to discuss which roads will be repaired or paved this summer. “Right now, no decisions are made on which roads will be paved,” he said, adding that the trustees must review the township budget before seeking bids.

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