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Trustees want court to resolve road dispute

JACKSONTOWN – After a 30 minute executive session Tuesday night, Licking Township Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to seek a judicial action if necessary to resolve the longstanding dispute with Robert Snedden Sr. concerning the location of Somerset Road.

Snedden has maintained for years that Somerset Road improperly extends too far over his property. He claims that in 2004 trustees paid the Shelly Company to resurface 18 footwide Somerset Road. After the resurfacing, Snedden said Somerset Road is now 21.5 feet wide at his end In recent years, he has placed railroad ties, stumps and rocks at the edge of the roadway and, on some occasions, in the roadway to keep vehicles off his property. Trustees have responded by declaring the objects as hazards or nuisances, giving Snedden seven days to remove them. In 2008, township workers removed railroad ties from the roadway and on other occasions, Snedden has complied with township orders to move the objects.

The resolution authorizes the “Licking County Prosecutor to take whatever legal action, including filing a judicial action in the appropriate court, necessary to resolve the long-standing road dispute affecting Somerset Road.” The resolution notes that trustees have “attempted to resolve the dispute by resolution, negotiation, and other non-judicial means for years, to no avail…”

Ohio Revised Code 5553.20 authorizes the board of county commissioners to prosecute a civil action against adjacent property owners to have the boundaries of a road judicially set when the county engineer “is unable to ascertain with certainty the true course and boundary line of road…” In 2007, Licking County Commissioners, at the request of trustees, asked the county engineer to determine the true center line of the road.

Trustees now want to take that action one step further by having its legal representatives – the county prosecutor’s office – seek a judicial determination which should ultimately resolve the boundary dispute once and for all.

Snedden typically comments on the dispute during the public comment portion of trustees’ meetings. Tuesday night was no exception. “I’m glad this is coming to an end,” he said. ”We’ll see how this plays out.”

In other business, Trustee President Joe Hart corrected a comment he made to returning Trustee Ron Acord at the organizational meeting. Acord stated at that meeting that he is going to tape trustee meetings. Hart had told him that he could do so, but he would have to make the tapes available to anyone requesting a copy. Hart said since Acord is using his personal recorder he will not have to make copies available if requested.

Jeff Baucher, a member of the Licking Township Fire Company, told trustees that the township’s fire fighter dependency board will have to be reorganized. The five-member board includes two fire department representatives, two elected township officials and one resident. Hart suggested that fiscal officer Jill Linn and Acord represent elected officials on the board. Acord and Miller agreed.

Road worker Steve Patterson reported that the township received about 93 tons of road salt last week, increasing the stockpile to nearly 300 tons. Cinders are another matter with last year’s stockpile down to about 60 tons. Patterson said cinders that are typically available from AEP’s Conesville generating plant aren’t available this year. That could be a real problem if temperatures drop below 20 degrees or so again this winter. Patterson said salt is very ineffective below 20 degrees while cinders will continue to provide traction for both stopping and starting at any temperature.

Trustees next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 1 at the Licking Township Fire Company Station #3 on Jacksontown Road (Ohio 13).

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