BATH TOWNSHIP – After listening to the protests of township residents who live and own property on Byron Road, Bath Township Trustees nixed a proposal to tear down a neighboring house and create a public entrance to Pearl’s Fen.
During the Wednesday, May 31 township meeting, Diana Baker, who resides on the 1500 block of Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road, told township trustees that she was not in favor of the proposed location of the public entrance to the fen.
Baker pointed out that the proposed location would be directly adjacent to the home she owns on the 45oo block of Byron Road. Currently, Baker’s son, Nathan, and his family live at the Byron Road residence. Baker also owns two other properties on Byron Road. One of those properties also borders the fen.
“I certainly disapprove of this plan. The entrance would border my property,” Baker said. “I do not want people walking or wondering around while kids are playing in my back yard.”
Nathan Baker also expressed his dismay with the proposal and told township trustees that he had chosen to live in a residential area where he would have the privacy he desired. Those people gaining entry to the fen would invade his privacy.
“I live out of the city to be out of the city,” Nathan Baker said. “I am afraid that one thing after another will happen when the general public has access to the property next to my home.”
Diana Baker also pointed out that Ray Mills, whose residence on the 4500 block of Byron Road borders the proposed entrance area on the south side, was against the plan as well. However, he was out of town and could not attend the township meeting.
“Ray disapproves of this idea, and he has genuine concerns too,” Diana Baker said.
During the May 17 township meeting, Chrisbell Bednar, director at Greene County Parks & Trails, told township trustees that the county agency wanted to submit a grant application to the Clean Ohio Fund. If approved, the grant funding would be used for an easement entrance into Pearl’s Fen. Bednar noted that the land management portion of the application required approval from the township trustees.
At that time, Bednar told the trustees that the Greene County Parks and Trails was planning to restore the fen, which would involve the acquisition of a residential property that would be used as an entrance into the fen. She explained that homeowners George and Carol Carmen wanted to relocate to Hillsboro and were eager to sell their property on the 4500 block of Byron Road.
Presently, the 15-acre fen, which is located behind several residential properties on Byron Road, is open by permit only.
According to Chuck Frazier, chief ranger and special project coordinator at Greene County Parks and Trails, the plan would include a parking lot located in the back section of the parcel. Eventually, a shelter house would be built on the lot that would be used for nature classes. Frazier said a 4-foot livestock fence would also be installed around the perimeter of the property.
“We would only allow public access to the fen from sunrise to sunset,” Frazier said.
After reviewing a map of the area, Township Trustee Steven Ross asked Frazier if Pearl’s Fen could be accessed from Oaks Quarry, which borders the fen on the west. Frazier explained that the terrain and topography of the quarry would pose a problem.
“We would be unable to access the fen because of the high walls and general terrain of the quarry,” Frazier said. “We would have to do a lot of research there.”
Township Trustee John Martin expressed his disapproval with the proposal and suggested considering another location. He also pointed out a parcel on the map and asked Frazier to inquire about the ownership of the property.
“I’m not keen about tearing down a house and placing a parking lot there,” Martin said. “This is a residential area with people who have lived there for years. I’m not for this.”
Township Trustee Tom Pitstick suggested that access to the fen remained opened by permit only at this time.
“The guy buying the land south of the fen may be willing to give you access to the fen,” Pitstick added. “Maybe, you (Frazier) could consult him. We know it would be nice to access the fen from there.”
“We just have to find another avenue at this time,” Ross said. “Possibly, we should consult the City of Fairborn.”
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.