The economy will be a factor in a resolution tentatively scheduled for discussion at the next meeting of the Lake Township trustees as they confront a problem with overgrown yards at abandoned residences.
Melanie Bowen, who chairs the board of trustees, last week said she’s received several calls from residents complaining about properties in need of mowing because the owners have left.
“It seems to be more prevalent this year than in previous years,” she said at the trustees’ last meeting. “It could be the state of the economy. Properties are being abandoned or foreclosed.”
The trustees next week will consider a resolution that would establish a process for notifying home owners to maintain their property or the township will mow the lawn and assess the owner on property tax bills for the costs involved.
David Miesmer, the township’s zoning inspector, said he’s been in contact with several residents about the situation.
Richard Welling, a trustee, said he’s also noticed an increase in abandoned properties.
“It started a couple years ago,” he said. “People just don’t move, they walk out the door and leave the property.”
He said the township would probably have its own personnel mow the lawns in question and assess the property owners for the hours.
“We’re trying to do a balancing act,” he said. “We’re trying to take the economy into account in the way we handle this.”
An assessment for the mowing on a tax bill could also be a deterrent for prospective home buyers, Welling said.
Support for traffic light
The trustees have municipal support in their effort to have a traffic signal installed at the intersection of State Route 51 and Millbury Road.
Melanie Bowen last week read a resolution approved unanimously by Northwood City Council that states council’s support for the trustees’ request for a signal.
“....Council of the City of Northwood shares the concerns of the Lake Township trustees and believes there to be more potential for traffic congestion, delays, and vehicular accidents at said intersection due to the increase in traffic.”
A traffic signal at the intersection could also benefit economic development in the immediate area, the resolution says.
The trustees for years have been requesting that the Ohio Department of Transportation install a traffic signal at the corner. The trustees renewed their request after a fatal accident in May west of the intersection. ODOT, after reviewing a history of traffic accidents at the intersection, has said it doesn’t meet criteria for a signal set in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
The trustees last month asked ODOT to lower the speed limit on the section of Route 51 in the township to 35 mph from 55. They’ve also asked for ODOT to conduct a speed study of that section.
ODOT has agreed to conduct a speed study.
According to records compiled by the township police department, there have been 129 accidents since Jan. 1, 2004 on the stretch of Route 51 from State Route 579 to Fostoria Road. The figure includes accidents that were responded to by the Ohio Highway Patrol and Lake Township police.
In other business, the trustees approved a resolution to place a 1-mill, 5-year levy renewal request on the November ballot to fund fire department operations.