BATH TOWNSHIP – The Bath Township Trustees have sought the advice from the Civil Division of the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office concerning a property rights issue in the township park, located behind the township building at 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road.
During the May 31 township meeting, the township trustees discussed the property issue with Stephanie Hayden, assistant prosecuting attorney at the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office. Township Trustee John Martin reported to the board of trustees during the May 17 regular session, that Lance Oakes, project manager at DDC, a Dayton-based general contractor, contacted him about an issue with a section of the walking path that runs the perimeter of the township park.
According to Martin, Oakes originally claimed that a small section of the black-topped walking path extended onto a portion of undeveloped property in Waterford Landing, a new residential community that borders the east side of the park. However, most recently, Oaks is claiming that three-fourths of the walking path on the east side of the park and a portion of the parking lot and fence bordering the park is extending onto Waterford Landing property.
“We are talking about one-fourth of seven-eighths of a mile of walking path Oaks wants removed,” Martin told Hayden.
“He wants us to cut back the parking lot 10 feet as well,” Township Trustee Steve Ross added. “He keeps adding things as he goes.”
Ross stated that DDC needed to survey the land and stake it, as well as provide a “punch list” and dollar amount for the project. He then asked Township Road Supervisor Vern Heizer to collect bids concerning the costs for reconstructing the parking lot and fence, and rebuilding a new walking path.
Martin pointed out that the township has occupied the property for a statutory period and should consider acquiring title to the land.
“This land is ours because we treated it as ours for 24 years,” Martin said. “We have a right to adverse possession.”
According to Ross, the fence and the township building were erected in 1970. The walking path was later constructed in 1993 after two, five-acre lots were obtained from Cemex (now known as the Fairborn Cement Company).
Attorney Hayden agreed that there was credence to the fact that the walking path was constructed on the property and used by the public for more than two decades.
The three trustees discussed their options, including annexing the land, and referred to Hayden concerning their legal rights. The township trustees unanimously agreed to solicit Hayden to write an official letter to the contractor that included a number of requests.
“As I said before, we need this property surveyed and staked, as well as a punch list and an estimate of costs,” said Ross.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.