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Trustees make final appeal for rockslide action

April 11, 2012
Salem News

WELLSVILLE -Yellow Creek Township board of trustees President Ken Biacco expressed frustration at Tuesday night's regular meeting over negative results in his attempts to remedy the situation on Hibbetts-Mill Road, which trustees believe poses a serious danger.

Biacco has implored both the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Public Works Commission for assistance with removing several loose rocks and boulders looming over Hibbetts-Mill Road. Trustees have toured the narrow stretch of road along the steep rock wall, and agree that motorists and area residents are at risk of an imminent rock slide.

According to Biacco, the proposed solution from the Public Works Commission was to close off the half of the road facing the rock wall. That is unacceptable, he said, since the road is only 16 feet wide to start with. It would leave only a single eight-foot-wide lane to pass through, with no guardrail before a steep drop-off into the nearby creek.

Biacco read from a letter that he sent to the OPWC expressing disappointment for their lack of a firm response and making a final plea for action. "I just don't understand why they're waiting for something to happen," he said. "Let's prevent it from happening."

Biacco said he never received any reply from his letter to ODOT, which implored action for what trustees consider an emergency situation. "Two weeks! They never replied," he said with exasperation. According to Biacco, a phone call to Columbus resulted in news that the necessary equipment was broken with no plans to repair it.

Along those lines, trustees heard a brief proposal from Noah and Mark Allison of Allison Contracting from Wellsville to carry out the work on any Hibbetts-Mill project that goes through. Biacco replied that he'd received two other bids so far and would be happy to take theirs as well.

Trustees accepted a permit request from CTL Energy of Columbus to take core samples from Bill Smith and Boyd roads in the township. Clerk Debbie Lyle said that the company isn't in the drilling business per se, but performs tests before shale drilling commences. No date has been established for the tests, but trustees assured residents that an announcement would be made beforehand.

Biacco said that he had been in contact with attorney Jerry Ward recently, who believes that Chesapeake Energy's leasing activity in the area is winding down. According to Ward, Biacco says that Chesapeake's latest offer is $1,500 per acre and 12.5 percent of royalties, down from $5,850 per acre and 20 percent of royalties just two months ago. Boyle suggested waiting on results from new wells being drilled nearby. "They know what's out there," he said. Good results from these wells could bring the offers back up, he believes.

 
 

 

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