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Trustees hear complaints about flooding and livestock

MILLERSPORT – It didn’t rain hogs in Fairfield Beach three weeks ago, but both were on some residents’ minds at Tuesday night’s Walnut Township Trustees’ meeting.

A Fairfield Beach couple asked about storm water on Elm, Forest, Grove and Pine roads after the heavy rains on July 13.

“Fairfield Beach itself was flooded,” road supervisor Tim Morris told them. “We’re not set up to handle 10 inches of rain.” Morris emphasized that he would meet with any residents to hear their ideas about handling storm water run-off. He told the couple that a ditch along Elm had already been widened on their recommendation.

Morris agreed that the area needed a storm sewer system, adding that the township couldn’t afford it. He said the township only has authority over ditches along township roads. The township is prohibited from doing ditch work on private property.

Morris said the high level of Buckeye Lake contributed to the magnitude of the flooding. The lake was backing up into ditches along Rosewood which flooded the road.

Another Fairfield Beach couple asked whether hogs could be kept on the area’s small residential lots. Four large hogs are being raised in the Dahlia Drive/Pine Road area. The smell is forcing some area residents to stay inside. There have also been some complaints about a large flock of chickens in the same area.

Trustees had a quick and direct answer about the hogs. Livestock, including chickens, are not permitted on residential lots. They suggested first filing a complaint with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office with follow-up by the township zoning inspector.

The zoning inspector had another busy month in July. Ten zoning permits were issued:

3 – for new homes;
2 – for pools;
2 – for fences;
1 – for a deck; and
2 – for accessory buildings.

Zoning inspector Mike Berry also reported that three junk cars were removed in the New Salem area

Morris also assured a Hollywood Farms neighbor that an assistant county prosecutor had only told them what they couldn’t do at this point, not what they may be able to do. The issue involves the alleged destruction of a section of culvert installed in 2009 in a road right-of-way that was never dedicated. The neighbor said the deliberate damage to the culvert causes flooding on his property.

While the assistant prosecutor is researching his options, Morris said township employees have been told to stay out of it. “Our hands are tied until he releases them,” he explained.

Morris also reported that the Community Development Block Grant funds for the township’s Fairfield Beach Neighborhood Revitalization project have been released. The township is meeting its match requirements by doing in-kind work including tree trimming and culvert replacement. It’s too late to get that work done this year and get the contractor work done before the end of the construction season.

The contractor work will be pushed back to next year and will be completed by August, Morris said. He said the township’s proposal to cut the parking spaces from 21 to 17 in the new park parking lot in order to meet township zoning requirements has been accepted.

After considerable discussion, trustees agreed to put an indefinite hold on any engineering for a Shepherd Drive storm sewer. Trustee Terry Horn said so far they have no assurance that Lakes in Distress funding from the state would be available for the project. He added that without engineering plans the project would score poorly for a Ohio Public Works Commission grant.

Instead, Morris proposed doing an underground video search to see what they have. Video services cost about $1,500 per day.

“We don’t even know what we have,” he explained. “Let’s see if we can fix it before we do any more engineering.”

Trustees ultimately unanimously approved a $4,000 budget for video investigation and quick repairs. Morris said they would be ready to immediately dig up any blockages discovered.

Morris said the public viewing for the Ballard Lane residents’ ditch petition was Tuesday morning. He and Bobby Slater said a number of residents were present along with Fairfield County Commissioners Mike Kiger and Dave Levacy. The ditch would redirect water currently being pumped into Buckeye Lake into the existing Lateral A county ditch. Trustee Bill Yates and Slater noted that the outlet of the proposed ditch would have been underwater during the July 14-15 flood. Both noted that the ditch would only put the water on someone else’s property and would be a poor substitute for putting into Buckeye Lake where it could be metered out as conditions permit. The public hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 22, in the commissioners’ meeting room in the county courthouse.

Morris also reported that the township’s two-person road crew will be chip sealing the township’s portion of Leonard Road with the assistance of Liberty and Greenfield township workers and equipment sometime the week of August 14. He previously estimated that the cooperative effort would cut the cost by at least 50 percent.

Morris also reported that he refused to respond to a request at 2 a.m. last Sunday night from Baltimore Police to pick up a donkey on Cherry Lane. Morris said the township doesn’t have a trailer suitable to haul livestock and plus he doesn’t do donkeys.

The trustees next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5, in the township offices.

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