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Township hires firm to assess roads

UNION TOWNSHIP- Monday night, Union Township Trustees unanimously approved hiring JG3 Consulting Pavement Management Services of Hebron for $6,896 for one year to inspect the township’s roads, establish baseline conditions and provide suggestions for repair and upgrade.

JG3 will to survey all Union Township roads, including some manual “boots on the ground” inspection with digital images, to determine the condition of township roadsandgiveeacha0to 100 Pavement Condition Index rating – with 0 considered a failed roadway and 100 considered in excellent condition.

The inspection work is expected to be completed within 30 days. JG3 will provide Union Township with a full final project report, which is an executive summary of the project and the current status of township roads conditions. A detailed Excel based inventory and PCI report will be provided. The firm will be available for consultation for the balance of the one year agreement including on-site visits.

The timing of the contract with JG3 was opportune as Trustee John Slater said AEP has requested permission to construct two temporary construction access roads off Canyon and Gale roads for construction equipment being used to upgrade a major transmission line. Trustee Charles Prince said the trustees need to be careful because AEP’s construction and use of a staging area off Blacklick Road in Walnut Township heavily damaged the road. He suggested giving AEP permission to build the temporary construction entrances contingent on their agreement to maintain or return the applicable township roads to the PCI ratings determined by JG3 before construction began. All trustees agreed.

In other township news:

• Trustees briefly reviewed the Coshocton-Fairfield-Licking- Perry Solid Waste Management District Plan update, which is a five-year update of a plan the Ohio EPA approved in 2010.

Every five years, solid waste districts give their solid waste management plans a facelift, updating data and strategies for meeting state goals.

Prince wanted to be sure that the updated plan won’t mandate curbside recycling which would increase waste disposal costs for residents. He also verified that an increase in solid waste district fees would only affect out-of-district waste. Disposal fees are passed back to customers. Residents and businesses should not see an increase in their trash bills due to this update.

• Prince raised concerns about a significant drop in revenue from the townships three fire levies from the first half collections to the second half. Total revenue for the second half dropped 13.5 percent. A five-year contract approved last December with the Granville Township and Hebron fire departments earmarks all fire levy revenue generated in each department’s service area to that department.

Fire levy income earmarked for Hebron dropped 15.6 percent in the second half, a reduction of $49,352 from first half income. Granville Township only lost 8.3 percent or $10,433 from the first half to the second.

Full year revenue for Hebron is $582,926.99 which is nearly $40,000 below its revenue from the township in 2012. Granville Township’s total revenue is $241,312.45 which is $161,312 more than it received from the township in 2013.

Prince expressed concern that a drop in fire levy revenue likely means a drop in revenue from the township’s inside millage which doesn’t require voter approval. He volunteered to seek an explanation from the auditor’s office.

• Trustees will hold a hearing on a zoning change at 7:30 p.m. during their regular Oct. 20 meeting. zoning session at 7:30 p.m. during the next regular trustee meeting Oct. 20 to vote upon a request to change 3.602 acres of land from Agricultural to Rural Residential 3 zoning.

Slater and his wife, Penny, and township fiscal officer Jessica Slater and her husband, Mark, want to change 3.602 acres of land from Agricultureal to Rural Residential 3 zoning. Slater will recuse himself from the vote.

Black, who serves as an alternate on the Licking County Planning Commission, did not participate in the commission’s decision to issue a non-binding recommendation not to approve the zoning request.

“There’s nothing wrong with the (zoning change),” Black said. He said the zoning change may not fit into the township’s comprehensive plan, which is recommended for update. Black said the planning commission issued its non-binding denial of the request for that reason, but would be willing to approve the zoning change once the comprehensive plan is updated.

According to the Commission’s information packet for its Sept. 22 meeting, the zoning request is due to the minimum parcel size within the agricultural zoning district within the Union Township zoning resolution, which is 10 acres. This prevents the property owners from splitting off the house and accessory buildings onto a separate parcel without giving up part of the existing agricultural fields. Therefore, the applicant is pursuing a zoning map amendment to rezone the property to Rural Residential 3, which has a three-acre minimum requirement.

According to the packet, the zoning change request is not the result of a new proposed use; it’s based upon existing uses of the property. Also, the proposed zoning change would have very little effect on future land uses in the area. The use already exists and is in character with the surrounding area, which is composed of rural residential and agricultural uses with a few business uses near the intersection of US 40 and Ohio 37.

Road supervisor Dave Cable reported that there have been some complaints about too much dust from the chip and seal work on Owens Drive. He will monitor the situation. Trustees also approved spending up to $4,000 for crack sealing on township roads. Work will start on Williamson Road in the Fairmont subdivision.

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