BATH TOWNSHIP – The Bath Township Board of Trustees is continuing to work toward resolving an ongoing property dispute at the township park and reaching a mutual agreement with a local developer.
During the June 21 township meeting, Trustee Steve Ross told residents that the trustees would work collaboratively to find a solution to the property issue at the park, located behind the township building and garage at 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road in Fairborn.
In May, Lance Oakes, project manager at DDC and CESO Inc., contacted the trustees, and said a section of the long-existing walking path and parking lot, as well as fencing bordering the east side of the park, were extending onto the Waterford Landing housing development, cutting through six-to-seven undeveloped lots.
“If we cannot meet a common ground, the developer claims he would have to shift over streets and consequently, lose the lots,” Ross said. “We are reasonable people and would like for this issue to be resolved amicably.”
The trustees have requested that the developer hire a certified surveyor to survey the housing development property and stake it so the property line is well defined. They also have sought legal counsel from Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Hayden as they move forward with seeking a formal resolution to the property dispute.
Ross expressed his dismay with the outcome of the June 9 Fairborn Planning Board meeting, which led to Fairborn City Council’s approval of the construction of section nine of Waterford Landing housing development June 19.
Both Ross and Township Trustee Tom Pitstick attended the planning board meeting, where board members heard a request from the developer of Waterford Landing to build approximately 37 additional homes. Plans call for the single-family houses to be built on 6,300- square-feet-to-9,600-square-feet lots in section nine. This would increase the total number of lots in Waterford Landing to more than 200.
Ross said he made a presentation and pointed out to the planning board that the western side of section nine boarders the Bath Township garage and road department. Alike many municipal road departments, construction materials, scrap metal and tires are stockpiled at the site.
“We have petroleum tanks, bright white security lights and a barbed-wire fence. In addition to that, we have big trucks that beep when backing,” said Ross. “We also have a holding/staging area for contractor’s equipment which includes trucks and road pavers.”
Ross said he reminded the planning board members that the township salt barn is also located behind the garage; and at 3 a.m. on snow days, salt is being loaded into township trucks. He also circulated five pictures that were taken from the perspective backyards of lots 17 through 28 and told the planning board members that these lots would be exposed to many of the mentioned elements on a daily basis.
Therefore, in an effort to remedy the problems, the homeowners would have to erect fences and plant trees and shrubs which would reduce usable yard space.
“I suggested that maybe, they ought to consider doing something rather than the residents. There will be a lot of complaints, and both the city and township will hear them,” Ross said. “The new homeowners will soon come to realize that their property values and resale potential may not be as good as their neighbors’ properties across the street.”
During the May 31 township meeting, trustees discussed remedies to the issue, including building a platted buffer zone on the west side of section nine, similar to what was designed along the north side of the housing development. Ross said he presented the trustees’ proposal to the planning board. However, section nine was approved as submitted.
“They agreed that the Bath Township garage and road department 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. “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.”
Ross pointed out that if the forthcoming issues were not addressed during the construction of section nine in the housing project, they would become the problems for local government.
“In reality, the developer and the builder will be long gone once the homeowners begin to complain. Such dissatisfaction will land directly into the laps of Bath Township and the City of Fairborn,” said Ross. “Therefore, we will keep this notification of everything we tried to do; and when the city comes after us to fit our uglies, we will say we tried.”
Pitstick also noted that the planning board determined that the property dispute, concerning the walking path, parking lot and fence, was a civil matter between the township and the developer.
With more construction beginning as early as July, the township trustees agreed to meet in executive session with the county’s assistant prosecutor following the regular session.
The trustees will meet again in regular session 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5. All regular sessions are held at the township building, located at 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road in Fairborn.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for the Fairborn Daily Herald.