BUCKEYE LAKE – Monday night, resident Jackie Sluder said she spoke too soon when she praised the village for taking action to clean up a property at 54 Union Avenue. She said she represents several neighbors who are unhappy with the property’s lack of maintenance.
In August, Sluder thanked Mayor Clay Carroll and Police Chief James Hanzey for their help in resolving issues with the Union Avenue property. She said the property’s lawn is consistently unmowed, despite warnings from the village to do so, and the property is cluttered with unlicensed vehicles. Sluder said it’s tough for she and her neighbors to entertain guests or even enjoy their own yards because of the insects the unmowed property generates. Sluder added that the property owner moves vehicles around to delay enforcement. She said she understood the property was under new ownership and the new owners agreed to cooperate with the neighbors.
“There’s been no progress made on that property whatsoever,” said Sluder Monday night. “Someone is still accountable.” She said the neighbors are furious and she was chosen to speak for them to council. Sluder said she was “hounded” by village zoning for permits when she wanted to improve her own property. “Why are the people who care being hounded when others are allowed to let their properties go?” Sluder said.
Hanzey said the property owners refuse to cooperate with the village. “They’re giving us the runaround,” he said. Hanzey said he and Carroll should talk to village solicitor Butch Bindley about what action to take next. Hanzey said he wrote the property owner up for several junk cars on his property. One was moved.
Sluder said a neighbor is taking violation notices off the 54 Union Avenue door and contacting the owner.
“We have his number, but he won’t call you back,” said Hanzey.
Carroll said he agrees Bindley should be consulted and Carroll believes he has an address for the property owner outside of the village.
“He knows. He’s no dummy,” Sluder said of the property owner. “He’s not worried about it. There has to be some way to stop the cat and mouse game.”
Carroll said it looks like contacting Bindley “is the way.”
Council member Peggy Wells asked if the Licking County Health Department could help.
“Several years ago, I did just that,” Sluder said, adding that the health department referred the issue to Buckeye Lake Village. “Believe me, I’ve tried every avenue.”
In a related issue, former council member Brenda Hileman told council there is an abandoned vehicle in front of 63 Myers Ave. and high grass and derelict vehicles surround 52 Central Ave.
In other village news:
• Resident Judy Allen said she heard the village was in trouble financially. If so, how could the village afford to pay the water supervisor $45,000 per year? She said the village expected many homes to be built at the Landings at Maple Bay, which would increase the water supervisor’s responsibilities. So far, not many new homes are built at the Landings.
“You don’t spend it before you get,” Allen said. “Who in the world is doing the budgeting?”
• Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marianne Perine asked if crosswalks would be installed across Ohio 79 anytime soon. Carroll said they would not. He said the original plan was to wait until Ohio 79 was repaved, which has since happened, but now the village has discovered crosswalks require extra features like “rumble strips,” which the village can’t afford. The crosswalks are on an indefinite hold.
• Council member Margaret Hanson announced her resignation Monday night. Wednesday, she said she was stepping down for “personal reasons.” She thanked Carroll for her time serving on council.
Council members appointed Hanson in January after it was discovered write-in candidate Kenneth Owens, who was elected via the November ballot, was ineligible to serve because he registered to vote less than a full year before he ran for office. Buckeye Lake’s Village Charter requires that council members must have been a registered voter for at least one year before seeking election.
Council members voted 5 to 1 to appoint Hanson, with Wells voting for former council member and mayoral candidate Hileman. Former council member Shirley Colley also sought the appointment, but didn’t receive any votes.
Carroll said the village would accept applications to fill Hanson’s term, which runs through 2017, until Sept. 19. The new council member may be announced during the next village council meeting. If council members cannot reach a decision in 30 days, Carroll will appoint a new council member.
“I enjoyed my term,” said Hanson. “I love the village.”
“It’s been a pleasure working with you,” council member Arletta Ruton told Hanson Monday night, adding she was sad Hanson was resigning.
• Ruton said the Buckeye Lake Youth Association’s booth had a successful run at the Millersport Lions Sweet Corn Festival. “We really had a good time,” she said, adding there were plenty of volunteers. “Your money goes to the youth of this village,” Ruton said.
• Carroll said the demonstration pervious parking lot and rain garden in front of the village complex is complete. Wells asked why steel bollards were placed around the area. She said they appear to have significantly reduced the area for parking.
Carroll said cars may park between the bollards on the new pervious concrete surface, but the bollards are there to keep trucks from parking on the new special concrete, which can’t sustain the weight of a large truck.