BATH TOWNSHIP ─ The Bath Township Board of Trustees are currently considering a proposal a local developer recently presented to them that may soon resolve an ongoing encroachment issue at the township park.
Bath Township Trustee Steve Ross said during the July 19 township meeting that the trustees had met with Lance Oakes, project manager at DDC and CESO Inc., who is overseeing the Waterford Landing housing development which is adjacent to the township park, 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road in Fairborn.
“Tom (Township Trustee Tom Pitstick) and I met with Lance Oakes at the park last Saturday morning to show him what we thought might be a good solution to the property issue,” Ross said. “However, Mr. Oaks came up with an alternative solution that would require a little jog in the walking path that goes from southeast to northwest and would get the path back on our property.”
Under the terms of the new proposal, the southern part of the walking path, running north and south on the eastern side of the park, would remain intact. The soccer field, basketball courts, and parking lot would not be impacted as well.
“The developer is planning to widen the township’s property along the most southern part of the path and deeding that property to the township,” said Ross. “That is in his proposal.”
According to Ross, the walking path would continue north just east of the parking lot and basketball courts and then turn northwest and continue through a small group of tree that stand approximately 15 feet apart.
“It would become a serpentine path through the trees,” said Ross. “Tom and I were walking through this wooded area thinking that there is plenty of room for a walking path. Not only that, it would be a pretty walking path, and it’s on our property.”
Pitstick future explained that nearly one-eighth of a mile of the walking path would be rerouted approximately 30 feet west of the existing walking path and would then be reconnected to the current walking path near the northern section of the park. The work would also involve the removal of a tree stump and any tree roots that may interfere with the walking path.
“We have a foundation of an agreement where they will do all of the work, including taking out the existing walking path and building a new one. In keeping with that, they are not going to take out the old path until the new path is completed,” Ross said. “Basically, they are going to move the middle section of the walking path at their expense, using the same contractor they use to do their streets.”
Bath Township Road Supervisor Vern Heizer also inquired about the materials the contractor would use when constructing the new walking path. Ross said the contractor would lay three-inches of gravel and two-inches of asphalt or match the existing path, whichever is greater. Heizer stated that the existing walking path is constructed better than the new walking path the developer is proposing, and the contractor should construct a new path of equal value.
In conclusion, Ross said the trustees were quite pleased with Oakes’ proposal, and the developer would be drawing up an agreement the trustees would present to Greene County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Hayden for consideration.
The encroachment issue first came to the attention of township trustees in May after Oakes claimed that one-fourth of a mile of the walking path and 10 feet of the parking lot were situated on Waterford Landing property. Oakes told township trustees that the encroaching property would interfere with the expansion of the neighboring housing development that originally broke ground in late 2010. According to Oakes, up to four additional building phases were planned, with the objective to complete one phase each year.
At that time, the township trustees contended that the township had acquired the property from Cemex and constructed the public walking path in 1993. They pointed out to Oakes that the long-existing walking path had been maintained by the township and used by the public on a regular basis for 24 years. The trustees requested that the developer hire a certified surveyor to survey the Waterford Landing property and stake it. The township trustees also sought legal counsel from Hayden as they moved forward pursuing an amicable resolution to the property dispute.
In June, Fairborn City Council also approved the developer’s request to expand section nine in the housing development after the request was approved by the Fairborn Planning Board earlier in the month. The 14-acre tract will be divided into 37 single-family residential lots with some of those lots bordering the township road department facility and road salt bin. The request raised a response from township trustees who expressed their concerns to the planning board about the homeowners who would be adversely affected by the sight and sounds from the township facility.
“They agreed that the township road department facility and salt bin are not pretty neighbors. Yet, there was no concern shown about the noise issues or the backyard views that future homeowners will have,” Ross said during the June 21 township meeting. “The planning board effectively said that this was the developer’s problem. The planning board came down on the side of ‘buyers beware.’ We beg to differ.”
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.