Township trustees address several resident complaints

Township trustees address several resident complaints

Image Credit: Lori Feeney

The Lawrence Township Board of Trustees fielded several complaints from residents at its Aug. 25 meeting.

Rick and Dianna Sponaugle are residents of the newly built Old Hilltop subdivision on Olde Orchard Road. Rick Sponaugle said they were there to go on record as being unsatisfied with the condition of the retention basin installed behind their property.

“I don't think I need to tell anybody what a dry summer we've had with hardly any rainfall at all,” Sponaugle said. “But there hasn't been a day that retention basin has been dry. It's been constantly filled with water. It's very unsightly, it's muddy and it's a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”

Sponaugle said he had spoken with the developer, Mike Durbin, who talked about possibly making it a permanent pond, which the Sponaugles said they do not want.

Ron Weekley, zoning inspector for the township, said he had previously asked Durbin to pump the water off the pond and clean the silt out of the bottom.

“There was never a silt fence installed. All the silt from everybody's property has washed down into it, and now it's all plugged up,” Weekley said. “I had asked him to clean that out. As far as I know to this point, he has not done that.”

The Sponaugles said they understood it was probably not a township issue because the pond is on private land. They asked the trustees to do whatever they can to help. Weekley said he will reach out to Durbin again regarding the issue.

Since the meeting was held, Sponaugle said he was able to reach Durbin and get a response.

In another matter Bruce and Mark Ankrom lodged a complaint about township mowing on the Mark Ankrom property, which they allege went beyond the township right-of-way and onto private property, causing significant damage and the potential for land erosion.

Bruce Ankrom provided the trustees with photos of the damage, which included taking out fruit trees, berries and a tire planter.

“We're talking 30 foot from the center line,” Ankrom said. “If he had just mowed it, we’d have been OK with that, but you can see that is down to bare soil.”

“It’s not mowed; it was excavated,” Mark Ankrom said.

Township Road Supervisor Chuck McNutt said he had visited the scene and acknowledged the mowing did go beyond the township right-of-way.

Matt Ritterbeck, board of trustees president, assured the Ankroms he and others from the township would look at the damage and make reparations as needed.

Zoar fire station and siren discussed

Zoar Mayor Scott Gordon and street commissioner David Irwin attended the meeting to discuss repurposing of the fire station for community use and identifying the best future placement of the tornado siren.

Gordon said the tornado siren was previously manually operated, and he would like to see it tied into the county 911 system. He also asked if there may be a better location for the siren.

Shawn Lynch, Bolivar fire chief, was asked to respond. Lynch said the best thing to do would be to hire a planner to perform a study and determine the ideal location.

“It involves examining acoustics, terrain, topography and other things I’m not well-versed in,” Lynch said.

Irwin said it needs to be decided who will set off the siren in the interim because it also serves a number of township residents while the siren is located in Zoar.

Gordon said they would look into the options and potential costs including how to tie into the county 911 system. Ritterbeck said it was possible the township may be able to help with the cost if Zoar files a formal request.

Gordon also brought up the need to repair a storm drain near Hess Mill Road and the Zoar Cemetery. He said the broken pipe affects people using the trail and will become a larger issue when the new connector trail goes in.

In other business

McNutt provided an update on the activity on Everhart Road after receiving questions from the public. He said AEP is placing new distribution lines in that area.

Weekley said the abandoned home on Sherman Church Road that was causing resident complaints has been contracted for demolition by the owner.

Scrap tire event

Martina Mann, administrative assistant, reminded everyone of the scrap tire event on Sept. 10 at the township hall. It’s from 9 a.m. to noon, unless the hoppers fill up before noon. Ritterbeck said the last time they held this event, the hoppers were full in about an hour.

Detail on the types and number of tires allowed to be dropped off during the free event are available at

The next meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at Charles E. Lundenberger Hall, 10867 Industrial Parkway NW, Bolivar.