By Rick Palsgrove
Toy Road resident Ernest Lee has asked area governments to delay proposed improvements to Swisher Road until ownership of the road is resolved.
Lee, whose property is on the northwest corner of Toy and Swisher roads, notified the city of Groveport, Madison Township, and Franklin County by letter that, according to county records, surveys, and title, his property extends to the center of Swisher Road.
“We have been paying taxes to the center of Swisher Road,” wrote Lee.
Franklin County and Madison Township, with the support of the city of Groveport, submitted grant applications to the Ohio Public Works Commission to seek funding for drainage maintenance and road resurfacing upgrades to Toy, Swisher, and Saltzgaber roads to improve road conditions and relieve traffic congestion. Plans also include construction of a double cul-de-sac on Toy Road just east of Centerpoint Parkway. County officials anticipate work on the estimated $447,500 project could begin in 2020.
“There is cause for further investigation into the ownership of Swisher Road before development begins,” wrote Lee. “Furthermore, property owners along the Swisher Road corridor land may also go to the center of the road.”
Lee wrote that he is not forfeiting nor abandoning his land that extends to the center of Swisher Road.
“We are willing to negotiate a proper land sale or easement of this land for whatever development the government agency wishes to do,” wrote Lee.
Speaking at Groveport City Council’s Sept. 9 meeting, Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon said that Lee is indicating his right of ownership and that “it’s something that has to be resolved.”
Residents living on Toy Road, Saltzgaber Road, and Swisher Road have long been frustrated by the poor conditions of these roads and the heavy traffic from nearby commercial warehouses that use these narrow, formerly rural roads. The residents want relief from the vehicle and semi-truck traffic they say damages the roads, tears up yards, knocks over mailboxes (one resident replaced his mailbox 11 times), causes noise, generates trash, and creates congestion.
Residential heavy truck parking
Council is reconsidering recently passed legislation that restricts heavy trucks from parking on the city’s residential streets and driveways after residents Kim Marsee and Tony Gullett recently questioned the law stating it caused “a hindrance and a hardship on some small business owners.”
The current law does not allow trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more to be parked on residential city streets or in driveways between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Also under the current law, restricted heavy vehicles may be present when work or deliveries are being done as long as the vehicles are not parked for 12 hours or more.
Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon has drafted a proposed change to the ordinance that would prohibit the heavy trucks from being parked on the city’s residential streets and alleys, but not restrict them from being parked on private property.
“This change would take care of small business owners who need to park their trucks on their own properties,” said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert. “It takes care of our residents and their livelihoods.”
Councilman Ed Dildine, in a written statement, expressed misgivings about the proposed change questioning how an inoperable truck parked in a driveway for a long time would be regulated and that driveways and residential streets are not designed to handle the permanent parking of such heavy trucks.
“Do we want neighborhood driveways to deteriorate without some sort of homeowner responsibility to maintain?” wrote Dildine, who also noted big trucks parked in residential areas can block one’s view when pulling out of one’s driveway.
Councilwoman Becky Hutson suggested restricting the parking of such trucks by height. Councilman Scott Lockett noted that heavy trucks parked in driveways might still be viewed as unsightly by neighbors.
“I wouldn’t want to sit out on my porch and see it,” said Hutson.
Shannon told council, “You have the power to control the aesthetics of it, but you have to weigh that against the adverse impact the restrictions would have on residents and their businesses.”
City officials said the original legislation arose because of problems with some large vehicles parking in multiple city neighborhoods. The big trucks block streets causing traffic congestion and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through. The vehicles’ weight may damage residential streets and there are issues of aesthetics.
Council will discuss the heavy truck parking issue further at its Oct. 21 committee of the whole meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the municipal building, 655 Blacklick St.