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Poland Village bans smoking in the woods

August 16, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse

After a brief discussion on the issue of smoking in Poland Woods, Village Council unanimously approved the ban. Signs will be erected shortly to notify the public.

The idea was presented by Councilman attorney Robert Limmer, who felt that the summer's long drought made the forest a potential area for fires.

"When we did our recent forest clean up, we found 15 to 20 cigarette butts," Limmer said.

He recommended putting up the signs as a temporary measure at least until Thanksgiving. He told the other council members he would like to see the Poland Forest Board consider making it a permanent regulation.

The discussion prior to the vote also involved open fires in the woods. Since the pavilions have grills for cooking, it was decided not to prohibit them.

Another issue at Tuesday's meeting involved work being done, or not being done, to a home at 12 Poland Manor. The home, referred to as the Barnheiser Home is supposed to be undergoing an addition. A permit was pulled two years ago for the work and nothing was done. A second permit was taken out last year and the only work was digging out a foundation and leaving a large hole in the ground.

"Since May, there has been one day of work take place. I think he needs to be fined," said neighboring resident Jennie Phillips during the public response segment of the meeting.

Village resident Ralph Mentzer suggested the Board of Health be brought into the picture.

"We should get the Board of Health to look at the hole and maybe declare it a health and safety issue," he told council.

Councilman Dave Raspanti said he would make the call.

Zoning Inspector Richard Ames said the zoning laws require work to begin six months after pulling a permit. That work must then be completed within a year. He said on the second permit, there is no way the owner will have it finished in time to meet the requirements of the permit.

"I will not sign off on a third permit," Ames said. "I will make the owner go before the Zoning Board of Appeals."

The discussion turned to fines and Village Solicitor Anthony D'Apolito said, after checking the zoning ordinances, that the owner could be fined under maintaining exterior walls, proper fences, and the creation of a safety hazard. That would amount to $100 per day for each violation for a total of $300 per day that the issue is not resolved. The first step is to send out a certified letter giving the owner 10 days to fix the problems. After the 10 days, the owner could start being fined.

Councilman William Dunnavant said, "If he is violating zoning laws, then we need to cite him."

In other business:

Clerk-Treasurer Linda Srnec told council that from this point out, any street department employees working on the Hine property must turn in a separate time card. She said the Hine Memorial Fund Board of Directors have set a rate of $8 an hour for work done on the property. She said only the street department part-time employee makes that rate. Full-time employees are making a lot more. She suggested having the Hine board consider passing a new resolution to allow the higher rate when street department full-timers do work on the property.

She did tell council that all work done to this point will have to stand, but all future work will require the separate time card in order for employees to be paid from the Hine Fund.



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