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Planning regulations trip up township

UNION TOWNSHIP – Time’s running out for Union Township Trustees to build a new salt bin for the upcoming winter season.

Trustee Rick Black said an unexpected site review by Licking County Planning Commission is holding up the project. “Nobody warned us about this,” he said. “We were just unaware of it.”

Black said trustees first discussed building a new salt bin at the Union Township Complex months ago, but what seemed like a simple construction project has met with a surprising number of roadblocks.

“Everything got put on hold,” said Black. He said trustees will review price options for construction and some of the associated expenses will come out in the site review. Black said it bothers him that the township is required to pay for a site review. “I don’t like paying tax payer money to a government entity,” he said, adding, however, that the township will do whatever is required of it. “We’ll get this done as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“We’ve got plenty of salt on hand,” said trustee President John Slater. One of the reasons the trustees decided to build a new salt bin is because so much salt remains from last year’s unusually mild winter. He said the township’s existing salt bin is full and a farmer agreed to store the remainder for the township until a new bin is ready. “We’re going to get by,” he said.

Slater said the township hasn’t built a new bin in roughly 40 years and many of the associated regulations have changed dramatically since then. Slater said county planning treats the bin like a commercial building, not an agriculture structure, which would have far less regulations. “We’ll work around it,” he said, adding that the delays in the salt bin’s construction will not affect the township’s ability to salt and clear roads this winter.

Licking County Planner Brad Mercer said the main issue is how the new salt bin will affect storm water drainage from the site and how the township can compensate for it, so the storm water doesn’t flood the properties surrounding the township complex.

In other township news:

• A road-paving project came in $7,000 under bid. “We’re very happy with that,” said Slater. Small’s Asphalt and Paving of Gambier originally bid the paving job, mainly chip and seal, at $27,563. Black said the company measured one of the jobs incorrectly, overestimating the amount of paving material it required. Otherwise, “the work seems to be good,” he said. Small’s completed all the roadwork Aug. 20.

“We did it in a day,” said project supervisor Mikey Small. “It doesn’t take long to do that paving.”

Small’s completed the following work:

Crack seal: Auld Ridge Way, Canyon Villa Drive, Caroline Drive, Mallard Point, O’Neill Drive, Reserve, and the entire Water’s Edge subdivision.

Chip Seal: Brynwood Circle, Canyon Court, Eulah Drive, and Hallie Lane.

Berms: Canyon Road, Dew Mar Drive, Eulah Drive, Ithaca Road, and O’Neill Drive.

The road surface on the Grandview Crossing bridge was repaired. More concrete repairs were completed on Squire Lane and O’Neill Drive was striped.

Small’ s Asphalt and Shelly Company were the only to bid on the project. Shelly’s bid was $42,205.30; however, a Shelly representative said the company made its own field measurements, determining that the bid’s paving distances were overstated and the actual project would take less material to accomplish and likely cost $10,000 to $11,000 less than the quantities specified in the request for bids. But, the bid was still higher than Small’s, even before Small’s subtracted $7,000.

• Slater said trustees wrote State Senator Tim Shaffer asking that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ pending South Fork Licking River Channel Improvement Project be extended approximately 200 yards downstream to remove a log jam roughly 175 feet by 75 feet. “If the project is completed without removing this log jam, we believe the project’s success may be jeopardized,” said the trustees in the letter.

The logjam was discovered during a pre-river round up tour Aug. 4. ODNR officials have inspected the logjam. The villages of Buckeye Lake and Hebron wrote similar letters. ODNR agreed to include the removal as an alternate on the bids that were due on August 31.

Slater said he understood Scurlock Excavating of Trinway, Ohio, was awarded the contract, however, ODNR representatives could not confirm this as of Wednesday. ODNR spokesperson Elisha Ehnes said the project should be under way by November 1.

The long delayed project will return conditions in the Ohio 79/ Ohio 360 area to those existing prior to the construction of the Seller’s Point spillway. The spillway addressed flooding problems along the South Bank but the additional water flowing out of Buckeye Lake into the South Fork of the Licking River aggravated flooding in the Ohio 360/Buckeye Lake Village area where the South Fork loops as it turns north toward Newark.

Approximately 3.3 miles of the South Fork will be widened, significantly increasing its carrying capacity during storm events. Its additional capacity has been designed to offset the additional flow over the spillway from Buckeye Lake. Channel widening begins at the Seller’s Poing Spillway Outlet and extends north to the Ohio 79 bridge north of I-70. Ehnes said the project includes 295,000 cubic yards of excavation, 92,500 cubic yards of embankment construction, and the placement of 13,000 tons of aggregate base course for a maintenance berm. Excess soil quantities will be disposed of off-site at an approved location. In addition, the project includes clearing, grubbing and offsite disposal of all trees, limbs, stumps and woody debris in the work area, 142,000 square yards of planting soil stabilization and 51 acres of revegetation. This project requires the installation of various storm drainage culverts, replacement of impacted subsurface drainage conduits, implementation of temporary erosion and sediment controls, and the placement of 395 cubic yards of grouted waterway bank protection under the Interstate 70 bridge.

Additionally, the project includes the removal of trees, beaver dams and other impediments to the flow of water within the outfall channel of the Sellers Point Spillway.

Ehnes said that in addition to the logjam trustees requested removed, the project includes the removal of two more log jams (one 6 feet tall, 40 feet wide and 100 feet long, other one 12 feet tall, 80 feet wide and 140 feet long) located immediately south of the original project limits in the South Fork Licking River channel. Completion date for all work is December 31, 2013.

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