BATH TOWNSHIP — A Bath Township resident took to the floor during the Oct. 4 township meeting to voice her complaint about a pile of gravel that was swept onto her property during a recent road construction project in her neighborhood.
The resident, who lives with her husband on Appaloosa Trail, told township trustees that the road crew operating a street sweeper during the project littered her lawn with about three feet of gravel and debris.
“I happened to be out in my yard, and they were sweeping all the rock into my yard. I asked the workers what they were doing, and they told me that they were instructed to sweep the gravel into the residents’ yards,” The resident said. “I refused to move because I cannot mow my lawn with all that gravel in it. They called the maintenance guy, and he basically said ‘tough luck.’”
The resident said that when the maintenance man came back to her neighborhood in the afternoon, he told her that he owned 25 feet from the center of the road and could do what he wanted with it.
“I told him, ‘no, you can’t. You may have an easement right, but you cannot throw anything in my yard,’” said the resident. “The way I was treated was bad. I know that the township has easement rights, but that does not give anyone the right to throw gravel into my grass. I do not throw my junk into the street.”
The resident also complained that township residents were not given advanced notice of the road construction which hampered traffic access to the area for a full day. One neighbor who was returning home from the pediatrician with her two young children, could not access her home.
“They didn’t notify anyone about what they were doing. The pavement remained wet for a long time, and there are puddles of fog seal that still remain in the area,” The resident said.
Pitstick apologized to the resident and noted that the township should have given the residents fair warning. However, he explained that the road contractor did not give the township road department adequate notice prior to the roadwork.
“I was not notified that the contractor was coming to apply the fog seal to the township roads until after 3:30 p.m. the day before the project,” Bath Township Road Supervisor Vern Heizer added. “I didn’t have enough employees. I had to borrow one person from the cemetery. I had nobody else. I was really stretched at the time.”
Heizer said the paving contractor had sufficiently staffed the project, but some of the workers were not very experienced or knowledgeable.
“The people that were doing the sweeping were not adequate,” said Heizer. “The Pelican Vacuum Sweeper was also being used on the other side of the township. The fog seal took longer to dry in the shaded areas too.”
Township Trustee Steve Ross pointed out that the situation created multiple issues that the township trustees needed to address. He noted that communications was good when the township contracted a company to apply microsurfacing to several township roads earlier this year.
Ross said he thought the fog sealant might have been unevenly spread which caused some puddling at the end of Appaloosa Trail where it intersects with North Enon Road.
“There were a couple of little ponds where I put my foot into it. The cones came down yesterday, but it still looks wet,” said Ross.
Pitstick said he also noticed two places that were still wet when he visited the area.
The resident told township trustees that her biggest complaint about the ordeal was the way she was treated by the road crew.
Both Ross and Pitstick expressed their apologies.
“How we treat our residents and how we interact with our constituents as elected officials is extremely important to those of us who ask for your vote every few years,” said Ross. “It is important to our staff and employees as well, but somehow, we got off track this time.”
The township contracted Miller-Mason Paving Company in Hillsboro to apply the fog seal asphalt treatment to Appaloosa Trail and 14 other township roads that were paved with a chip seal surface treatment in September. Heizer previously told township trustees that he was very pleased with the paving contractor’s quality of work, including the chip seal surface treatment the contractor applied to the roads last month.
According to Heizer, the fog seal application, which cost the township $10,000, and a mastic sealant, which will be applied in 2018, would extend the life of the chip seal surface on the 15 roads from three-to-four years to six years. He also pointed out that the chip seal treatment is a very cost effective way to pave the township roads in comparison to microsurfacing the roads.
The Bath Township Board of Trustees will meet again 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18 at the township office, 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for the Fairborn Daily Herald.