SUMMIT COUNTY SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
BATH TOWNSHIP UPDATE FEBRUARY 14, 2020
YELLOW CREEK FOUNDATION WEBSITE MISINFORMATION
Many folks in Bath wonder why the Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District (YCWCD) is needed, since the Summit County Surface Water Management District (SWMD) is already in place in Bath Township. While arguments can be made for the YCWCD, is there anything that it can do that the SWMD cannot accomplish? If you look at the website of the Yellow Creek Foundation, you will find a page comparing solutions provided by the two entities. Unfortunately, the information provided is not only biased toward the YCWCD, but blatantly false regarding the SWMD. Following are some fallacies listed, and the truth:
Limited Scope – Uses an approach limited to a specific county or municipality.
False, the SWMD uses a watershed approach, and has already had a consultant perform a study of the entire Yellow Creek Watershed.
Limited to Opt-in Township – Shifts the burden of costs onto the few voters in municipalities which have opted to join.
False, the ditch petition process will determine and assess all benefitting/contributing landowners in the project sub-watershed. The SWMD revenue will help defray the cost for those that pay the SWMD fee.
REACTIVE – Reacts to problems which develop and then are identified through petitions for redress.
False, the SWMD has done a full watershed study and identified problems, which will be prioritized for solution.
Spot Band-Aid Spending – Implements spot, band-Aid fixes because funds are only available only from opted-in communities, resulting in inefficient spending.
False, the SWMD is taking a watershed-based approach, and through the ditch petition process can assess landowners outside the SWMD community.
Channels streams’ force – Channels the water’s force downstream into rivers, streams and ditches.
Directs flooding downstream – Channels, rather than abate, floodwater forces, flooding downstream properties.
False, Proposed SWMD projects will install upland storage, enhance bankfull storage, and provide stream erosion control measures.
Erosion control along roadways/ prioritizes erosion control along roadways.
False, the SWMD will construct numerous stormwater management facilities that slow the water, in order to reduce erosion and flooding. Local highway agencies will be encouraged to correct roadside ditch erosion, however SWMD funds will not be used to correct roadway drainage issues.
Manages Road & Bridge Water Only (not yards, tributaries, streams) – Funnels funds into projects selected.
False, SWMD funds cannot be used to improve roadways and bridges. Road and bridge projects are funded by a completely separate revenue stream.
Eminent Domain – Public Utilities use eminent domain, taking private lands to protect public roadways, possibly imperiling downstream properties.
False, eminent domain will rarely be required, and the majority of projects will reduce erosion and flooding of private properties. Any benefit to protect public roadways will be funded by the County or township road and bridge funds.
3 Trustees’ decision for inclusion – enacted by 3 trustees, not through ballot, petition, or voter initiative.
Misleading, as the trustees are elected representatives of the people.
Ditch petition history? Was recently enacted by the county and has no experience or history of success.
False, as the ditch petition process is defined by the Ohio Revised Code and has been utilized across the state for decades with great success.
Directed by municipality and engineer – open to bias – Implements projects selected by the municipality and engineers using varying metrics.
Misleading, SWMD decisions are reviewed by a citizen involvement committee.
May become political/Possible money spent with no plan – Has fragmented supervision, which could be partisan.
Misleading, presenting this process as indifferent to the citizens, which is completely untrue. The SWMD is guided by engineering experts and must perform satisfactorily to a number of elected officials at the local and county level. These elected officials answer to the public, unlike a court appointed board of a watershed conservancy district.
YCWCD is Smartest use of funds/Non-political – claims the YCWCD is supervised by judges from each county and a non-partisan board.
False, the judges are involved only in forming the YCWCD and reviewing its annual budget, not in supervising the operation of the YCWCD. The board members are appointed, and not answerable to the public.
No justification requirement – Does not have to justify projects it selects and has no long-term plan requirement.
False, the SWMD is dedicated to providing good stewardship of the funds collected.
Staff are highway & bridge engineers only – employs solutions focused on water transport, such as ditch construction or enlargement.
False, David Koontz, PE, SI is the program manager for the Summit County Surface Water Management District. He has over 40 years’ expertise in the civil engineering field in both public and private sectors, with an emphasis on stormwater management. Furthermore, the SWMD retains experts in the stormwater field to perform the watershed studies and design of projects to mitigate erosion and flooding.
Local and County officials dictate which parcels are taken for projects.
Misleading, because any land that is deemed necessary by the expert consultant will be vetted by the local officials who have an interest in protecting the public, through the process established by Ohio Revised Code.
GOOD AFTERNOON CITIZENS OF YELLOW CREEK
Many of you have asked how we should go about officially expressing our opposition to the formation of a Conservancy District.
The most effective way is to send them to the court:
The Honorable Judge Kelly McLaughlin
Summit County Court of Common Pleas
209 S. High St.
Akron, OH 44308
Please write your own letters in your own words to especially Judge McCarty and copy your local government officials and local publications expressing your concerns and please cc me on any letters sent so that we can continue to build our list/quantity of oppositions.
Letters can address a variety of opposition points, including but not limited to:
A Conservancy District would have UNLIMITED authority to assess ALL costs to operate the district on ALL property owners within the district, regardless of whether that property is or is not affected by Yellow Creek flooding; with the county’s SWMD, all fees collected in a territory (say Bath) must be used on projects to benefit that territory
A Conservancy District would create an entirely new government bureaucracy that is UNACCOUNTABLE to residents within the District. Residents and governments (cities, townships, villages) within the District would have no input on all matters regarding the District, including governance, management and assessments levied.
A Conservancy District formation would benefit the interests of a comparatively FEW private property owners in the district at the expense of EVERY property owner in the District.
A Conservancy District would have the power of eminent domain and therefore can force the sale of private property to achieve the goals of the conservancy;
The antiquated ORC rules and regulations for formation of a conservancy district need to be updated when the signatures of a mere 500 residents within a nine community area in which exponentially more than 500 residents live can be the qualifier for the creation of such an entity.
A conservancy district has the ability to tax all of us for the benefit of the few and to pay the ‘fees’ of their consultants, lawyers and board members.
A conservancy district is unnecessary and redundant as the Engineer’s Surface Water District has already spent over $400,000 in studies of the Yellow Creek Watershed proposing plans of action that would do exactly what a cd would do.
Additionally, attached are the comments Vito Sinopoli, Bath Township Administrator made during last Monday’s (1/6/20) Bath Trustee meeting:
"In a recent Summit County Common Pleas Court decision dated 12/11/19 regarding the petition to establish a conservancy district, the court concluded that petitioners met the technical requirements of R.C. 6101.05 and the case can move forward.
To be clear, the court’s decision does not establish a conservancy district; rather, it simply allows for the case to move to the next step involving appointment of conservancy court, which includes participation of a Medina County judge to form a conservancy court. Once the conservancy court is formed, evidence, including public comment on the necessity and sufficiency of a conservancy district, will be submitted to the conservancy court that will be hearing the petition.
Bath Township, along with the City of Fairlawn, the City of Akron and the Village of Richfield have formally opposed formation of a conservancy district and will continue to defend against the efforts to form the district. Bath Township believes stormwater issues have been adequately addressed through voluntary participation in the Summit County Engineer’s Surface Water Management District. Creation of a conservancy district is unnecessary and redundant as the Engineer’s Surface Water District has already spent over $400,000 in studies of the Yellow Creek Watershed, as well as the Wye Road drainage area.
The Township will retain legal counsel to represent the interests of the community in this action."
Please make your concerns known and write those letters, share on social media, share with your friends and neighbors living in the watershed!
Trustees oppose conservancy district
6/22/2017 - West Side Leader
By Scott Kriska
Representatives of the Yellow Creek Foundation attended the Sharon Board of Trustees meeting June 13 to explain the status of the foundation’s proposed Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District, which would affect Sharon, as well as other nearby communities.
Foundation President Brenda McShaffrey said she filed a petition in favor of the conservancy district with the Summit County Common Pleas Court and is awaiting a final ruling from Judge Alison Breaux. She explained contrary to what many residents may think, not all of Sharon would be affected by the conservancy district.
Yellow Creek Foundation Board member Jim Stender explained the district is being created to combat problematic flooding areas in the township.
The trustees, however, said they are not in favor of this project being done in Sharon. Trustee Kimberly Bolas Miller said she is opposed to the proposal because only a small percentage of the township would be in the conservancy district. She also said the district would bring taxation without representation.
Tony Tricomi, a member of Citizens for Yellow Creek, a group created to look at all the options before moving forward on the conservancy, according to organization officials, discussed the petitions that were circulated in favor of the conservancy district, saying residents may not have been aware of what they had signed.
The board approved a formal resolution to oppose the Yellow Creek Foundation’s proposal — a move that was met with applause from many of the residents in attendance.
Yellow Creek Foundation files conservancy district petition
District would establish board to govern water management within area
By RITA JEAN WAGAR May 6, 2017
GRANGER – When Granger Township Trustees met April 24, Trustee Rich Pace said the Yellow Creek Foundation, after obtaining more than the 500 required signatures from those living in the Yellow Creek Watershed District, filed a petition with Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Breaux April 12 to establish a Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6101.
Pace said if the conservancy district is granted, it will establish a board to govern water management within the district, which would include parts of nine area communities in the 31 square-mile watershed area – Granger, Sharon, Copley, Bath and Richfield townships, in addition to Richfield Village, Fairlawn, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.
He expressed concern that the district will have the ability to levy a .3-mill tax to fund a plan to address water management issues within the district. Everyone living in the watershed district will be subject to the tax, but will not have the opportunity to vote on the tax. He said once the water management plan is established, the conservancy board will be able to levy additional taxes without giving residents the opportunity to vote.
“There may be some oversight by a judge prior to implementing the tax, but that is not the equivalent to a vote by its residents,” he said.
He said another major concern is the board would have additional, broad powers such as eminent domain rights, which would supersede the township’s rights.
Pace said there are other options that should be considered. He said another group, Citizens for Yellow Creek, also wants to protect and preserve Yellow Creek, but feel a conservancy district should not be formed without first considering less intrusive alternatives.
He said CFYC noted both the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Summit County Engineer – Surface Water Management District, can also help to protect the district. CFYC has begun to circulate petitions to residents of the district who oppose the formation of a conservancy district. He said the village council of Richfield recently passed a resolution opposing the formation of a conservancy district.
Pace said once the court reviews the signatures, a judge from Medina County will be appointed and public hearings will be scheduled for both proponents and opponents to provide input. If the conservancy district is approved, it will be granted all the aforementioned powers.
Pace said the legislation allowing the formation of a conservancy district was enacted more than 100 years ago and was a reaction to the Great Flood of 1913, in which at least 428 people died. Since then, better planning is in place and each county has an engineer and storm water management program.
He reminded that “the main event leading to the attempt to form the Yellow Creek Conservation District was a 2014 storm which, although damaging to public property such as roads and bridges (along with private property), did not compare to the 1913 flood.”
He urged locals to look at alternatives to a conservancy district that would allow residents the opportunity to work with elected officials who answer to their constituents and, rather than fund a new bureaucracy, to become familiar with each of the organizations and attend any public hearings that may be scheduled as a result of the petition presented in Summit County. Trustees took no action.
Trustee Rich Pace said the "Yellow Creek Foundation, after obtaining more than the 500 required signatures from those living in the Yellow
Creek Watershed District, filed a petition with Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Breaux April 12 to establish a Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District."
Bath Country Journal May 2017
Township Administrator’s Corner
by Vito Sinopoli
Township representatives continue to evaluate stormwater management options in the area. The Summit County Engineer recently presented a plan to address stormwater-related issues.
In a presentation to township officials, representatives from the engineer’s office discussed plans to create a Surface Water Management District. Under the proposal, townships, villages and cities in Summit County would be eligible to participate, on a voluntary basis, in a program in which businesses and residents would be assessed a monthly utility fee. Funds collected would be used to remediate stormwater issues in the community. The fee would be based on impervious surface area on real property. Residential property owners would pay a utility fee of $4 per month to fund improvements that benefit the participating community.
Commercial properties would pay a utility fee of $4 per 3,000 square feet of impervious surface. Commercial property owners would receive credits against the monthly fee based on property improvements made to minimize stormwater impact, including stormwater retention or detention areas or other environmentally responsible modifications. No commercial property owner would pay less than 1 ERU (equivalent residential unit) per month, or $4 per month.
The Surface Water Management District plan is distinguishable from other options township officials have examined. For instance, the Yellow Creek Foundation, a separate, legal and not-for-profit entity, recently formed to create a conservancy district. If created, an independent board unaffiliated with local government would be appointed to manage the district. The conservancy district board could assess a .3-mill levy on properties within the Yellow Creek Watershed to develop a plan for stormwater improvements. It could then assess residents an additional fee to administer and implement the plan.
The township group Citizens for Yellow Creek opposes the Yellow Creek Foundation. This group says the cost of implementing the plan and the autonomous nature of the independent board outweigh any possible benefits.
Another option for stormwater management involves community participation in a regional sewer district. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), based in Cuyahoga County, maintains authority in portions of Summit County and wants to expand its coverage. If a community agrees to participate, residents and commercial property owners are assessed a monthly fee based on impervious surface area, ranging from $3-$9 per month for residential properties. A quarter of fees collected would be returned to the community for stormwater improvements. The approach addresses stormwater projects on a regional basis, not necessarily locally.
Unlike conservancy or regional sewer districts, the Surface Water Management District the county engineer proposed would apply all funds to stormwater projects that benefit the community. The county engineer would defer to local government officials on projects that have the highest priority for remediation. That could mean that funds collected in Bath could be used in another community if the improvement benefits stormwater issues in Bath. The district would fall under the direct authority of three separate local elected governmental entities, and not under the exclusive control of a board appointed by a conservancy judge.
The proposal is similar to a plan the county engineer proposed in 2014 to fund a utility district through a sales tax increase. The measure was not approved, and with no revenue stream for off-road surface water projects, the county engineer directed property owners to a process called ditch petition to address stormwater issues.
Under a ditch petition, a property owner may seek the county engineer’s assistance on stormwater projects, with the cost of improvements assessed against benefiting properties. All costs, including engineering, are paid before work is done.
The county engineer’s program would implement projects, perform maintenance on new and existing stormwater projects and be able to enforce rules and regulations, set rates and collect fees. The management district would coexist with current ditch petition laws, allowing residents to address stormwater projects on private property.
The county engineer’s office views the district proposal as a cost-effective option for stormwater management. Administrative costs would be low because existing county staff would review and design stormwater projects. The district would be accountable through elected officials in the Summit County Engineer’s Office, Summit County Council and Executive’s Office.
As Bath Township trustees evaluate how best to provide for the stormwater needs of the community, residents are encouraged to provide feedback on the county engineer’s plan and others being considered.
COUNTY ENGINEER PRESENTS ALTERNATIVE TO CONSERVANCY DISTRICT
by Sheldon Ocker
During the April 17 meeting of the Friends of Yellow Creek, more than 50 people listened to Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker present an alternative to the formation of a conservancy district to resolve flooding and erosion issues of the Yellow Creek.
Brubaker proposed the creation of a Surface Water Management District under the control of Summit County. As Brubaker explained the concept, each community in the county would be free to join the district by a vote of its legislative body (the township trustees, in the case of Bath).
The district would raise money by levying a fee of $4 per one, two or three-unit residence and a higher fee on commercial and industrial properties, depending on how much hard surface area is on the land, including roofs, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots.
All the money raised in Bath would be used to resolve stormwater problems in the township.
“Four dollars is where we’re starting,” Brubaker said. “As we move forward with a program, we may find we can’t implement things with the speed we need or with the speed the community wants. We could ask [county] council to raise it. Or we might find that $4 is too much, and we can lower it.”
As an additional source of funding, a water management district would have the authority to apply for federal grants or grants from other sources.
Projects would be considered and undertaken through a tool called the ditch process, by which an individual, group of individuals or township outlines a problem and presents it to the water management district.
“The [district] would have the ability to implement projects and perform maintenance,” Brubaker said. “There also would be the ability to enforce rules and regulations and the ability to set rates with the approval of the county executive and [county] council.”
A difference between the operation of a conservancy district and the county’s proposed Surface Water Management District is oversight and accountability. Once a judge ratifies the formation of a conservancy district, an operating board of directors would be appointed. Any decisions they made and fees that they levied would be virtually incontestable.
The water management district would be overseen by the county engineer, the county executive and county council, all of whom must answer to the voters.
“We feel that administrative costs would be low,” Brubaker said. “We would be using existing staff to implement the program. The [county] fiscal officer would be our collection agency, and the prosecutor’s office would be our legal advisor.”
14 The Bath Country Journal, May 2017 AROUND THE
YELLOW CREEK WATERSHED ADVOCATES MOVE FORWARD
4/20/2017 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Kathleen Folkerth
GREATER AKRON — Organizers who are seeking to create the Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District submitted their petitions with signatures to Summit County Common Pleas Court April 12.
The submission of signatures came after Richfield Village Council passed a resolution opposing the effort April 4, and some local residents have gone to local trustee and council meetings to express their opposition to it. In addition, Citizens for Yellow Creek, a group that has expressed its opposition to the conservancy, met April 17 to discuss its efforts.
Brenda McShaffrey, a Bath resident who is heading up the Yellow Creek Foundation’s efforts to create the district because of flooding concerns, said 500 signatures were required to submit the petitions to the courts. She said the group submitted around 639 signatures from residents who live in the proposed watershed district. The case has been assigned to Judge Alison Breaux’s court, McCaffrey added.
Creation of the conservancy district would allow a fee to be assessed to all property owners in the district, with collected funds to be used for projects that could reduce water flow and enhance ground absorption. According to the foundation, a conservancy district is a political subdivision in the State of Ohio that is allowed under Ohio Revised Code. The regional governments are established on a watershed basis to deal with water resource issues that extend across city, township and county boundaries.
According to a map of the watershed, the proposed district in the West Side Leader coverage area would include areas of Bath, Richfield, Fairlawn, Copley, West Akron and Cuyahoga Falls in western Summit County and Granger and Sharon in eastern Medina County.
According to the foundation, after Breaux determines the validity of the petitions, she must notify the court in Medina County, which would assign a judge there to the conservancy court. The two judges would hold public meetings on the official plan and any proposed assessments, and the court would evaluate all legal matters relating to the district. McShaffrey said she couldn’t say how long this process could take.
If the district is approved, the court would appoint three people to be on its board of directors, and they would administer the day-to-day operations of the district. The board also would be allowed to assess properties in the district up to 3 mills to fund a two-year study, the first step in the process.
Among those who are against the creation of the district is Amy Bowers, of Bath, who said Citizens for Yellow Creek was created to look at all the options before moving forward on the conservancy.
“That one didn’t sit right with a lot of people,” she said. “It’s taxation without representation; that really is the big thing. There’s not much oversight, and the township is pretty powerless to do anything. We think there probably is a better way.”
She added that those in opposition have also tried to get more information from the conservancy proponents but have not gotten a response.
Mark Spisak, a member of the Yellow Creek Foundation board, said he has not heard much about those in opposition, but he believes they are mostly against having another layer of government.
“They agree there’s a problem — there’s common ground there,” Spisak said. “[Forming the conservancy] seemed to be the most productive mechanism.”
Bowers said the opposition doesn’t know if there’s any agreement because of the lack of response.
“We probably do have common ground, but we don’t have enough information on what yet,” she said.
Adding to the issue is the recent announcement from the Summit County Engineer’s Office of a proposed surface water management district. One key to the proposal is that money raised within a municipality would be spent on projects benefiting that municipality, according to the Engineer’s Office. Communities would also have the option to participate in the program.
McShaffrey said the Yellow Creek Foundation is also embarking on an educational outreach program in local preschools that kicked off this week to tie into Earth Day. Volunteers from the group were set to visit Childtime in Fairlawn, Kindercare in Fairlawn and Richfield and the Godard School in Bath this week. Other preschools participating in future weeks are Faith Lutheran Preschool in Fairlawn and LeChaperon Rouge in Bath.
For more information on the Yellow Creek Foundation, go to www.yellowcreekfoundation.org. For more on Citizens for Yellow Creek, contact Bowers at email@example.com or 330-958-3959.
RICHFIELD COUNCIL OPPOSES PROPOSED CONSERVANCY DISTRICT
4/13/2017 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Scott Piepho
Richfield Village Council voiced its objection to the proposed Yellow Creek Watershed Conservation District at the April 4 meeting and unanimously approved an amended resolution opposing the inclusion of the village in the district.
Before the vote, Mayor Bobbie Beshara discussed the matter in her report.
The Yellow Creek Foundation is proposing the district. A conservancy district would allow a fee to be assessed to all property owners in the district, with collected funds to be used for projects that could reduce water flow and enhance ground absorption.
According to the Yellow Creek Foundation’s website, the foundation is working to organize the district under a provision of the Ohio Revised Code that states a conservancy district can be established by filing a petition with the court of common pleas in one of the counties where the district would be established. The code provides three ways to gather sufficient signatures. It must be signed by either 500 residents of the proposed district, a majority of the residents or residents who hold a majority of the property in either acreage or value.
Beshara said she has discussed the matter with Bath Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli. Bath will host a meeting regarding options for dealing with storm water, which will discuss both the proposed conservancy district and the Surface Water Management District proposed by Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker. The meeting will be held April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Bath Administration Building, 3864 W. Bath Road.
Mayor Beshara encouraged officials and residents to attend.
When asked the status of the foundation’s efforts regarding the district, Brenda McShaffrey, founder and president of the Yellow Creek Foundation, said in an email, “We have collected a great deal of signatures and are reviewing the watershed boundaries. We expect to be done with this step soon.”
After the discussion before Council’s vote on the conservation district, Councilman Mike Lyons proposed adding an amendment to the resolution stating the Summit County engineer’s proposal for a countywide storm water utility “should be considered a more appropriate approach to intercommunity storm water issues.” The amendment passed unanimously and Council approved the resolution opposing the village’s inclusion in the district.
COUNTY ENGINEER FLOATING PROPOSED STORM WATER UTILITY
3/23/2017 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Ariel Hakim
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council will have the final say on whether a surface water management district gets established on a countywide basis.
Legislation may come before Council as soon as next month, according to Heidi Swindell, spokesperson for the County Engineer’s Office. Municipalities would participate voluntarily in the district, Swindell told Council at the March 20 meeting.
“The community would decide whether or not they want to take part,” she stressed.
For years, the Engineer’s Office has been working on creating a workable alternative to the ditch petition process, the way the county currently deals with storm water problems on private land when there is no revenue to fix them, Swindell said.
She said one reason she’s excited about the proposal is because the financial participation from townships would add weight to grant applications by providing matching funds.
Townships don’t have the power to create a storm water utility like the one being proposed, noted Council President John Schmidt (D-District 2), while cities and villages in the county can charge storm water utility fees, and some do.
Villages and cities may find the county program preferable because they wouldn’t have to deal with administration of the program, noted Jason Dodson, chief of staff for the County Executive’s Office.
The Engineer’s Office has been actively seeking feedback from townships on a draft of the proposal, Swindell said, introducing the idea at a Summit County Township Association meeting earlier this month. Earlier the day of the Council meeting, the Engineer’s Office held a workshop with eight of nine townships in the county represented, which shows the townships are interested in the proposal, said Councilman Jeff Wilhite (D-District 4).
Swindell added if legislation to create the district doesn’t come before Council by mid- to late April, it’s because the Engineer’s Office is still working on incorporating the comments and suggestions from townships into it.
One key to the proposal at hand is that money raised within a municipality would be spent on projects benefitting that municipality, according to the Engineer’s Office. Residents within participating communities would be charged $4 a month, while commercial property owners would owe $4 for every 3,000 square feet of impervious surface area on a monthly basis. Bills would be sent out annually, according to Swindell.
Communities could choose to charge a different monthly fee based on the problems they are looking to fix, said Swindell. Council would have to give the go-ahead, however, for a community to charge a different rate than the standard, she added.
Council also would be responsible for adopting the district’s annual budget, approving projects within the county’s capital budget and awarding contracts, noted Dodson.
The district would be overseen by the county engineer, county executive and County Council, and existing county employees would implement and manage the district, according to the Engineer’s Office.
The potential administrator of the district is Dave Koontz, who is a storm water management specialist with the Engineer’s Office, Swindell told Council.
TRUSTEES HEAR CONCERNS ABOUT PROPOSED CONSERVANCY DISTRICT
1/26/2017 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Scott Kriska
Trustee Ray Lurtz, at right, swears in Service Director Bob Turek as Sharon cemetery supervisor during the Jan. 17 trustees’ meeting.
Photo: Scott Kriska A Bath resident expressed his views against the Yellow Creek Foundation’s proposed conservancy district at the Sharon Board of Trustees’ meeting Jan. 17.
The Yellow Creek Foundation was created this past May with a goal of establishing the Yellow Creek Watershed Conservation District, according to foundation officials. A conservancy district would allow a fee to be assessed to all property owners in the district, with collected funds to be used for projects that could reduce water flow and enhance ground absorption.
According to a map of the watershed, the district would include areas of Bath, Richfield, Fairlawn, Copley, West Akron, Cuyahoga Falls in western Summit County and Granger and Sharon in eastern Medina County.
Medina Line Road resident David Poling said he does not want this district to be set up because it provides taxation without representation. He said the proposal is not to the benefit of Sharon residents and he encouraged residents to be cautious about signing petitions being passed around by representatives of the Yellow Creek Foundation. Poling said it would only take 500 signatures for this proposed conservancy district to become a reality. He said he believes too many people are not aware of the situation and might agree to sign a petition in favor of the project. Poling suggested the Medina County Board of Commissioners investigate further this proposal.
JAN. 26, 2017 – WEST SIDE LEADER; “TRUSTEES AGREE TO SUPPORT PROPOSAL FROM CORPORATE PARK,” BY SCOTT KRISKA; BATH RESIDENT AMY BOWERS SPOKE OUT AGAINST THE PROPOSED YELLOW CREEK WATERSHED CONSERVANCY DISTRICT”.
Bath resident Amy Bowers spoke out against the proposed Yellow Creek Watershed Conservation District from the Yellow Creek Foundation. She explained Granger is one of nine communities that would be included in the district. Bowers explained all of the properties in the watershed would be assessed fees. She encouraged residents to contact her at 330-666-8702 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Bowers said she has petitions available to express opposition to the formation of the conservancy.
BATH TRUSTEES APPROVE ZONING CHANGE
10/6/2016 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Julia Kazar
TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS ALSO DISCUSS PROPOSED CONSERVANCY DISTRICT
At the Bath Board of Trustees meeting Oct. 3, trustees approved a resolution to rezone four parcels of land located on North Revere Road.
The approval allows the applicant, Fred Zumpano, to rezone his properties from R2 (Residential) to R4. The difference between the two classifications is the number of structures allowed on the property, according to Zoning Inspector William Funk. An R2-zoned property can have one unit or housing structure per 2-1/2 acres and an R4-zoned property can have four units per acre, according to Funk.
The zoning change was approved by the Summit County Planning Commission and the Bath Zoning Commission, and a public hearing was held on the issue in September.
Also during the meeting, Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli said officials with the Yellow Creek Foundation, a nonprofit organization not affiliated with the township, are in the process of forming the Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District.
“Conservancy districts are political subdivisions of the State of Ohio, provided for in the Ohio Revised Code under Chapter 6101,” Sinopoli said. “They are formed at the initiative of local landowners or political subdivisions to solve water management problems, most often flooding.”
Officials with the Yellow Creek Foundation have said the foundation was organized to advocate for protection and restoration of water quality, water habitats and the beauty of the Yellow Creek Watershed through engagement, education and funds to create a watershed conservancy district. The group is seeking to establish the conservancy district in 32 square miles of the Yellow Creek Watershed due to runoff of storm water that has caused flooding, road washouts, erosion of stream banks and stream beds and other issues. According to a map of the proposed district, it would include portions of Bath, Copley, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Richfield, West Akron, Granger and Sharon.
Sinopoli said to form the district, all that is needed is a petition with 500 signatures of property owners living within the district, he said. All properties within the watershed are included in the district, according to Sinopoli.
“A conservancy district has the right of eminent domain and may charge user fees, levy special assessments and issue bonds,” Sinopoli said. “After creation, the district may initially impose a 0.3-mill levy to fund development of a plan for which it can address water management issues.”
Sinopoli also said any person negatively affected by the district may petition the Conservancy Court. The court would consist of a Common Pleas Court judge from each county within the conservancy district, according to the foundation’s website.
“The purposes for which a conservancy district can be formed include the following: preventing floods; regulating stream channels by changing, widening and deepening the stream channels; reclaiming or filling wet and overflowed lands; providing for irrigation where it may be needed; regulating the flow of streams and conserving their waters; diverting or in whole or in part eliminating watercourses; providing a water supply for domestic, industrial and public use; providing for the collection and disposal of sewage and other liquid wastes produced within the district; and arresting erosion along the Ohio shore line of Lake Erie,” Sinopoli said.
Fiscal Officer Sharon Troike asked Sinopoli if residents who live in an area that already has a conservancy district in place and are being charged a fee will be charged a second fee if the Yellow Creek Conservancy District is created.
Sinopoli said residents would be charged a second fee. He said if they want to voice their opposition against that, they should attend the public hearing, once it is scheduled by the Conservancy Court before the district is created, as it is much harder to make an appeal after it has been created.
FOR MORE ON THE FOUNDATION, GO TO yellowcreekfoundation.org.
READER WARNS OF THE DANGERS INHERENT IN THE PLAN
OF THE YELLOW CREEK FOUNDATION
To the Editor:
I would like to thank Tony Tricomi for his letter in your December issue. He is spot-on with his observations about the
above foundation and the damage it can do to property owners in our area. I urge your readers to reject the idea of adding
another unaccountable bureaucracy
to our lives.
Let foundation supporters propose legislation through Summit County Council instead, where officials
will at least be accountable to the voters.
(Editors’ note: The letter writer is referring
to the Yellow Creek Foundation, which is
spearheading a plan to form a conservancy
district to control flooding of the Yellow
TO THE EDITOR:
I’d like to alert the citizens of Akron, Bath, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley, Fairlawn, Richfield Township, Richfield Village, Granger Township and Sharon Township living in the Yellow Creek Watershed: There is a plan underway to create a new, unelected bureaucracy and levy unvoted taxes on us.
The Yellow Creek Foundation is passing a petition (requiring only 500 signatures) that will allow two judges (not city councils, township trustees or the state legislature) to form a conservancy district, aka “New Bureaucracy.”
This unelected bureaucracy will have the right of eminent domain – and more concerning – the ability to assess user fees, aka “taxes,” and issue bonds (long-term debt for which the taxpayers will be held responsible).
What happened to “no taxation without representation?” It is the responsibility of our elected city, township and state representatives to stop this right now! Whatever it takes! Also, the state must follow up with legislation to eliminate the provision in the Ohio revised code that allows this travesty on our rights as citizens.
Brook Bend Drive
BATH MAN CAUTIONS AGAINST CONSERVANCY DISTRICT
11/24/2016 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
I’d like to alert the citizens of Akron, Bath, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley, Fairlawn, Richfield Township, Richfield Village, Granger Township and Sharon Township living in the Yellow Creek Watershed: There is a plan underway to create a new unelected bureaucracy and levy unvoted taxes on us.
The Yellow Creek Foundation is passing a petition (requiring only 500 signatures) that will allow two judges (not city councils, township trustees or the state legislature) to form a conservancy district, aka “New Bureaucracy.”
This unelected bureaucracy will have the right of eminent domain, and more concerning, the ability to assess user fees, aka “taxes,” and issue bonds (long term debt for which the taxpayers will be held responsible).
What happened to “no taxation without representation?” It is the responsibility of our elected city, township and state representatives to stop this right now! Whatever it takes! Also, the state must follow up with legislation to eliminate the provision in the Ohio Revised Code that allows this travesty on our rights as citizens.
Tony Tricomi, Bath
CHALLENGING YELLOW CREEK CONSERVANCY DISTRICT
TO THE EDITOR:
Your recent article regarding the Yellow Creek Conservancy District raises many
concerns: “a permanent assessment,” an unknown “board of appraisers will determine
the amount,” and some homeowners “will be doubly taxed.”
Conservation is a commendable pursuit, but let us start with each of us reducing the hardscape of our driveways, parking
lots and patios before turning over our rights to other people and groups. Advocates
can start at home by removing hardscape and using their common efforts to promote Bath Township trustees
to pass zoning laws that stop all future hardscape development and stop paving park trails and parking lots. It is well established
that hardscape is the major cause of our problem. A conservancy will only spend more tax dollars and request more
homeowner funds. I would be remiss if I neglected to set straight a misconception in the article that stated the creek is 10 times wider or
“maybe it is only five times bigger.” I have lived on the Yellow Creek for 42 years, and it also bisects my property. It is not
a single foot wider than the day I moved in. We began immediately to preserve its banks just as mentioned in the article.It works.
Yellow Creek Road
BATH MAN QUESTIONS NEED FOR CONSERVANCY
10/20/2016 - WEST SIDE LEADER
By Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
Your recent article [“Bath trustees approve zoning change” in the Oct. 6, 2016, issue] regarding the Yellow Creek [Watershed] Conservancy [District] raises many concerns: to give the “right of eminent domain”; the right of “charging user fees” and “assessments” to some unnamed judge is not in the best interest of Bath homeowners.
The article states one of the purposes of the conservancy is “diverting — in whole or in part eliminating watercourses.” Hardscape in roadways, driveways and patios is well established as the primary watercourses and are a major cause of the creek flooding. Will homeowners be required to remove their asphalt/concrete driveways and patios by eminent domain? Will the paved Bath park trails and parking lots be replaced by permeable substances?
Before we give up our own rights of domain, let the sponsors of this initiative correct their own driveways and patios and pressure the township to enact zoning to prevent further hardscape development anywhere. Rather than start a permanent assessment of $100 to $200 each year for who knows how long, let each homeowner who wishes to sign the petition to initiate the conservancy begin by removing their hardscape and replacing it with permeable substances.
Chris VanDevere, Bath