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Trustees won’t initiate property vacations

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustees agreed Monday night they would not initiate vacations – not the two weeks in Hawaii kind, but the platted subdivision kind. Some property owners believe the process will move along more quickly if the trustees initiate a vacation instead of the property owner, but trustees agreed this is not that case and initiating vacations would only cause stress for the township.

“This would just open a real can of worms,” said Trustee Dave Miller.

Occasionally, plats must be vacated. In this situation, there is usually a utility easement, street right-of-way, or another hold on the property that needs to be abandoned or removed from the original plat before the property can be developed.

For example, a plat may show a road was intended for an individual property, but was never created. A vacation of the original plat eliminates any ties to the original subdivision, and the property purchaser is now free to develop the property without the old subdivision’s constraints. In other words, he or she is now free to build on the land originally intended for a road. Such vacations are common, but can be tedious.

Zoning Inspector Forrest Cooperrider told trustees a person requested the trustees initiate a vacation of an undeveloped platted 2nd Street north of US 40 in Jacksontown. “The property owner believes it’ll happen faster if the trustees initiate it,” Cooperrider said.

“That’s not so,” said Trustee President Joe Hart, who said he prefers the property owner to initiate the vacation and do the surveys. “The property owner should do the legwork,” he said.

Hart said there are various properties in the township where the owner may ask the trustees to initiate a vacation. “We have several different ones where this could bite us,” he said. “We’d be well advised to stay out of that as far as initiating it.”

Miller agreed. He said there’s a platted property on Cristland Hills Road that could, “open a real hornet’s nest. To me, if we do it, even just for this gentleman, we’ve opened up a real can of worms. I would say leave well enough alone.” Let the property owner initiate.

“We should not set a precedent,” Trustee John Holman said. “Let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

In other township news:

• Licking Township Fire Company Chief Mike Wilson told trustees he decided against applying for a grant for now. “We decided not to pursue the SAFER grant this year,” he said. “We’ll hold off and see what goes on over the next couple years, and then reapply.”

Previously, Wilson described the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant as a “long shot.” He said the department could possibly use the revenue to increase Station 2 staffing in Franklin Township, which doesn’t have 24-hour coverage. Wilson said it’s a two-year, $460,000 grant, and, were the department to be awarded the competitive grant it wouldn’t collect any revenue until 2018.

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