Talking crime and violations

(Posted July 8, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Crime and violations made up most of the discussion at the July 7 meeting of the Madison County commissioners.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office received a report over the July 4 weekend of two individuals firing what appeared to be assault rifles in a target shooting situation near the Deer Creek bridge on State Route 665 east of London.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources maintains a right-of-way in the area to provide fishing access to the waterway. Sheriff John Swaney said it is illegal to shoot firearms in the access area. He also said that doing so on the surrounding land, which is private property, is considered trespassing. He and Madison County Prosecutor Stephen Pronai discussed the idea of approaching the nearby landowners about posting no-trespassing signs.

“This is not the first time we’ve gotten reports of possible target shooting in the area,” Swaney said.

The caller who reported the most recent incident said the men involved were in a black Chevy Avalanche with a tire strapped to the roof. They had left the area by the time deputies arrived on the scene. Anyone who has information can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (740) 852-1212.

Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume informed the commissioners of problems with a motocross track located on 14 acres on State Route 56, north of intersection of Route 56 and State Route 187. He said the track’s construction has caused erosion and drainage problems for neighboring properties. Additionally, the for-profit business is located on land that is zoned for agricultural use, presenting a zoning issue.

The Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio Environmental Protection  Agency have talked to the owners about installing erosion control measures and providing drainage calculations. The company has not complied, he said.

“Sounds like I’m going to need to file an injunction,” Pronai said.

Dhume also reported that vandals recently destroyed the public restroom facility located along the bike path near Wilson Road near the Madison-Franklin county line. Swaney said it appears that the vandals used an ATV to damage the toilet and the fence enclosure. The cost to replace the facility is estimated at $2,300, Dhume said.

The facility has been the target of vandals in the past. Swaney said cameras have been placed in the area for surveillance with varying degrees of success. He said he’d like try a camera again, preferably one that is solar-powered and sends images to a cell phone.

“We need a camera system that has minimal chance of being destroyed and that can be run remotely,” he said.

The Madison County commissioners typically meet on Tuesday mornings. For the last several months, the meetings have been held via teleconference. In the last few weeks, the commissioners have opened their office at the courthouse for the meetings, as well. They ask that anyone who plans to attend in person wear a mask and practice social distancing. The room capacity is limited to no more than 10 people. For details, visit and look for “County Commissioners” under the “Departments” tab.

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