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Council addresses host of outdoor issues

September 25, 2013
By Joanna Larson , Town Crier correspondent

Poland Village Council covered a broad scope of topics at its Sept. 17 meeting, including more discussion on tree removal, a new sewer for Poland Woods and a presentation on the past season of, and future plans for, the village Farmer's Market.

A representative from Streetscapes gave council a brief recap on this past summer's Farmer's Market in the village. She said that the only issue so far has been wear and tear on the grass, but that Streetscapes is willing to reseed or to move vendors to the parking lot.

Councilman William Dunnavant said she could meet with the lands committee to iron out the details for next year as far as hours and location.

The rep thanked council saying that the community appreciates it, adding that Farmer's Market is a nonprofit endeavor.

During caucus, Zoning Administrator Dave Raspanti gave council an update on nuisance notices that he has been sending out. Raspanti has been on the look out for debris, uncut grass, overgrown vegetation and junk cars, since he started the position in June.

"Violations are continuing to go out. We're getting a lot of good movement on them. At this point, they're still notices and not fines," Raspanti told council. "Also, phone calls to commercial businesses have improved our entry into the village."

As far as the ongoing discussion on tree removal on Riverside Drive, Solicitor Anthony D'Apolito told council that he wanted to get the opinion of a property lawyer who handles titles and deeds.

Raspanti said that he had sent out the exact same letter to two different property owners about trees that needed to come down for safety reasons. The letter stated that the village would initially take the trees down, but the underlying property owner would eventually foot the cost.

The issue now seems to be with who owns a particular tree. Previously, it was accepted by some that the village assumed property ownership on anything that what was within 33 feet on each side of the centerline of a 66-foot road. However, D'Apolito is not so sure this is accurate as an automatic assumption.

"I think for how many times we come upon this question, I think it would be worth the amount of money to have an answer that we know is accurate," D'Apolito said.

D'Apolito said he would check with a property lawyer to see what the cost would be for an official opinion.

In other tree news, council did vote to remove a hazardous tree located across the street from Union Elementary School, at the village expense.

Deputy zoning administrator Richard Ames told council that Bazetta Tree had determined the tree should come down. It is thought that the tree was struck by lightning. Ames said that he had researched, and that the tree was on village property.

Dunnavant said he had previously spoken with groundskeeping workers at the school who expressed concern about the damaged tree, because of its proximity to children.

During the time for the solicitor's report, D'Apolito also gave council an update on changing the speed limit on a portion of Ohio 170 between Nesbitt Street and Riverside Drive.

"You can do it, but it would be very difficult," D'Apolito said he was told.

D'Apolito said that in order for the Ohio Department of Transportation to even consider the change, the village would either have to create, or hire out a speed limit study, which would entail extensive information gathering about that stretch of road.

Even after the study, D'Apolito said it would be up to ODOT to decide on the change. D'Apolito said that by statute the area is currently 35 mph.

Dunnavant said he had originally asked about the process because he had received complaints from residents about noise created from trucks screeching their brakes.

"Really, that's a residential area and people should be going 25 [mph], and I agree, but now, is it worth it to go through all of this for 200 yards of road?" Dunnavant said.

Council made no other comment on the issue.

In other business:

- Attorney Robert Limmer asked police Chief Russ Beatty about police presence in Poland Woods at night. Limmer said it appeared that someone was using a hacksaw at night to make cuts in the area of the swinging suspension bridge. Beatty said that this has happened in the past, and that there is increased police attention to the woods.

"We have definitely increased our presence in the woods," Beatty said.

As for any dog issues after the recent passing of the leash law for the entire Poland Woods, Beatty said there have not been any dog issues at all.

- Councilwoman Linda Srnec asked Beatty, who also serves as road department superintendent, about the salt supply for the upcoming winter and if there would be any salt shortages this year. Beatty said that the department would be preparing for winter soon by starting to put the salt boxes on the trucks.

"We'll be ready," Beatty said.

- Srnec also mentioned the village's fine schedule, telling council that the schedule is low compared to other entities. Srnec said she would like to work with Beatty to make it more comparable and competitive.

"We're not doing it because we are trying to make money, but we are asking people who come through here to obey the traffic laws and to keep our town safe," Srnec said.

- Council gave approval to pay $1,490 to Butch and McCree Paving for additional product used during completion of the recent $92,988 re-paving contract, which included Johnston Place, Second Street, Nesbitt Drive between Ohio 170 and North Lima Road, and portions of Riverside Drive.

- Plans have been made for a new sewer line to be laid throughout parts of Poland Village including the woods, Mazur said. The new sewer line, Mazur noted, will be laid along the same line as the old one, which is being replaced because it is leaking.

Mazur said that engineers would be working with the Forest Board to ensure the least damage possible to the woods. It is estimated that the project will take two years. Mazur said the project would be completed in sections to keep the old sewer operable during construction.

- Council voted to renew hospitalization coverage with Medical Mutual and to change the plan year to begin Dec. 1, 2013 and to end Nov. 30, 2014.



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