Notice and Reaction
Letter about "Tree Trimming"
Homeowners were sent what I consider to be a deeply misleading letter in fall of 2018 titled Notice to Residents Regarding Tree Trimming and Right-of-Way staking in Preparation for Road Work (read the full letter below).
It reads in part:
“The Department will be doing tree trimming and brush removal in preparation for ditching. Trees will be trimmed and brush removed only as needed to facilitate ditching, snow removal and clear passage for school buses and snow plows.…In certain circumstances, trees in the right of way may be removed as per Ohio Revised Code Section SS43:14…as is necessary in the engineer’s or Board’s judgment to facilitate the right of the public to improvement and maintenance of, and uninterrupted travel on, county and township roads.”
Subsequent to this letter, every tree in the right-of-way was marked, and only in a direct follow-up with the road department did I find out that all were going to be removed.
Outreach on Christmas Eve
While I was told that the township reached out to everyone in person, in my case, that was not true as I reached out to them.
At a March 28, 2019 trustee meeting, road superintendent Mike Farrell stated all residents were contacted. As proof, he offered a parcel map with hand-written notes:
Mike Farrell beginning at recording 49:365:
“So, I have right here, uhm, these are all the, uhm residents’ addresses and uh, with dates on there of who we talked to and when and uhm, I talked to not everyone, I did talk to a majority of people and then I was on vacation and I had Randy Reese and uhm, another one of my staff go out and talk to the rest of the people and I told ‘em, write the date down, uhm, you know, you can see their notes on here, leave logs, uhm.”
This parcel list includes my name with the words "ok" next to it. There is no date.
I am anything but "ok" with the tree removal.
Other parcels are listed as "ok" but no dates are provided. Others are listed as "NOH", for no one home. but no follow-up contact is listed.
The document shows road department personnel visited some residents on 12/24, Christmas Eve, a strange time to advise of intentions to remove 100+ trees on a very limited amount of road.
On Feb. 4 residents were notified through the local newspaper that marked trees on Sperry would be cut. See notice posted to Chesterland News Facebook page below.
Reaction and Result
No public hearings were held.
I have been told repeatedly all other residents are happy with the tree cutting. Yet, at least one neighbor went to a trustees meeting with concerns. 2019 Chester Government Updates - which are recaps of `meetings submitted by trustees for publication in the Chesterland News - don't contain any Sperry Road resident feedback. Minutes from the Jan. 17 and Feb. 14 meetings aren't available yet.
The resolution to approve cutting all of the trees in the right-of-way was listed on the Jan. 17 agenda (circulated at the meeting) as a resolution for $15,000 worth of tree work:
Yet, draft minutes from the Jan.17 (final not yet available) show a $38,000 resolution was approved:
Here is the recap of the resolution that appeared in the Chester Township Government Update (appeared online only, not in the print edition:
The board approved $38,000 for VanCuren Services for tree work on Sperry Road between Wilson Mills and Sherman. This road will be part of a resurfacing project in 2020 using matching funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC).
See the section Authorization for more detail.