What to do with unkempt properties draws trustees' attention

Ken Lahmers, Correspondent
Special to MyTownNEO
Kent Weeklies

NORTHFIELD CENTER – Township trustees are discussing with their legal counsel what actions can be taken relative to a property on Hazel Drive which they claim is unsafe.

At their first regular meeting of 2021 on Jan. 11, trustees learned that a condemnation order has been sent to the property owner and posted on the property by Summit County’s chief building official.

The order states the vacant home’s roof and a side wall have collapsed, the building is open and unsecured, exterior wood is rotting, the basement is flooded, plumbing is not functioning and insects are infesting the structure.

The property owner has 30 days to submit plans to make the house safe or raze it. If one of those options is not done, the township and county can declare the structure a public nuisance, thus requiring demolition.

Township Zoning Inspector Don Saunders said this is one of three or four properties that township officials want to see cleaned up. He noted an exterior maintenance code approved a few months ago hopefully will help accomplish that.

“We now have a mechanism to address these problem properties,” said Trustee Rich Reville, while Saunders said a 50/50 split grant program with the Summit County Land Bank can help fund any work the township does to clean them up.

Meanwhile, Reville reported the township is still working to resolve a hazardous trees issue on private property at Pleasantview and Skylane drives, which the trustees have discussed for more than a month.

In December, trustees rejected a resolution which declared “the trees constitute a nuisance and pose imminent danger to the public” and would have ordered the property owner to remove them within seven days under Ohio Revised Code Section 505.87.


Trustees authorized a purchase order for $30,000 payable to Cargill to be drawn from one account and a blanket certificate for $12,000 to be drawn from another account for the purchase of road salt.

They approved a memorandum of understanding between the township and the Summit County Combined General Health District for screening and reporting of township stormwater outfalls from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2025. The cost is $11,297 for the first year.

Authorization was given to allow certain obsolete and no longer needed township vehicles and equipment, including an ambulance and boat, to be sold on govdeals.com, and trustees congratulated former Sheriff Steve Barry upon his retirement.

Trustee Russ Mazzola reported Feb. 1 is the deadline for five firms chosen by trustees to submit their proposals for the design/build of a new administrative offices/firehouse at the service department grounds on Olde Eight Road. He said groundbreaking could take place in about 90 days.

“It is a major project, and this is an exciting time for the township,” he said.

Service Superintendent Rick Youel said from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1 crews will pick up downed limbs from a November windstorm that are at least 3 inches in diameter. They also will remove sagging limbs from trees along roads.

Macedonia Fire Chief Brian Ripley reported the department responded to 689 total calls (577 EMS and 112 fire-related) in the township in 2020, up from 641 in 2019. Firemen fought two house fires in December, including one that destroyed a house.

He added 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the department, and some special activities are planned throughout the year.

Contact the newspaper at 330-541-9430, or newsleader@recordpub.com.