FAIRFIELD TWP. - Township trustees won't vote on whether to close the Esterly Drive railroad crossing until their second meeting in January, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 23, due in part to a required 14-day comment period.
"The parameters have all been met up to this point," Trustee Barry Miner said.
He explained they had the recent public hearing and now the comment period must be observed, per the guidelines of the Ohio Rail Development Commission. Even if no one had shown up for the public hearing, which was well-attended last week, there would still be a 14-day comment period.
Trustee Chairman Bob Hum started the meeting Thursday night by saying he thought they were going to take action on the Buckeye Transfer Realty request regarding the closing of the railroad crossing.
However, he said he had two conversations with a representative of Norfolk Southern during the day and there was also the 14-day review period, which wasn't over yet.
"It would be in everyone's best interest that we not take action tonight," he said.
Hum said he also spoke to Catherine Stout of the ORDC and she suggested they delay the vote until the second meeting in January so any final details could be worked out.
"Did ORDC request the 14 days?" attorney Mark Hutson asked, with Hum saying it was part of the procedure.
Hutson, part of the legal team for Buckeye Transfer, asked if there was anything they could do or anything more they could offer, but Hum said not at this time. Buckeye Transfer wants the crossing closed because it would benefit from a closed-loop rail inside its 90-acre facility if the crossing closed.
Several people had come to speak about the proposed closing, but most had no comment when they learned no decision would be made yet.
Mary Ann Ossoff, who with her husband Ted owns the Valley Golf Club off of Esterly and Cherry Fork Road, said she was there because she's a concerned citizen of the township and keeps abreast of what's going on. They've gone on record against the closure.
"I'm very concerned and worried about what can happen with safety. I'm still concerned with my business," she said. "Whatever happens in the township affects me personally and affects our business personally."
During the public hearing, the Ossoffs expressed concern with the intersection of Esterly Drive and state Route 344, saying it was already unsafe.
In other business, the trustees approved a road use management agreement (RUMA) with Cardinal Gas Services, working with Access Midstream, for use of Crestview Road from state Route 164 to the Salem Township line. Access Midstream Specialist Scott Hrivnak explained that the roadway work had already been done previously by Chesapeake and this was just giving them the okay to use the road to get to the Hartz wellsite on Crestview Road. Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson had already signed off on the RUMA, along with the prosecutor's office.
Hrivnak said the company is running a gathering line from the Hartz wellsite which will be an extension of the gathering line project in Salem Township and eventually flow to the Kensington gas processing plant. No boring will take place on Crestview Road, but in Salem Township, the line will cross Leetonia Road south of the Oakdale Cemetery. The pipeline is running across private property along secured easements.
The trustees took no action on a driveway permit he also requested so they will have their own access drive to the wellsite property.
Road Supervisor Mel Miller reported the road crews have been busy with snow on the roads on 11 out of the last 14 days. He said the new snow plow had been delivered and he was making some adjustments and replaced two cutting edges on two trucks. New tires were installed on the loader and 94 tons of salt were delivered. He said they've been mixing in some ash as needed.
Zoning Inspector Kym Seabolt announced to the public in attendance that the township is looking for a volunteer to serve on the zoning commission as an alternate.
"It's a great way to get involved in the township. We would love to have your volunteerism," she said.
Anyone interested should send a letter to Faifield Township, Attention Zoning Inspector, 3062 Fairfield School Road, Columbiana, Ohio 44408.
She also reported she checked on the cost for getting Comcast internet into the township building and was shocked to learn it would cost $10,641, with the company willing to cover at least $3,500. She said they would have to run the line down from Apples Way. She's going to check with AT&T, their current DSL carrier, to see if they can get wireless in the building.
The trustees agreed to give Minor permission to sign an addendum to extend the deadline for the Esterly Drive and Cherry Fork Road road project. The contract for the grant was set to expire and had to be extended to May 31, 2014.
The trustees also:
- authorized payment of the general liability insurance for $13,611
- reappointed Richard Fisher to the township Zoning Commission for another five-year term which expires in 2018
- reappointed Myron Wehr to the township Zoning Board of Appeals for another five-year term which expires in 2018
- reappointed Agnes Jones as an alternate member to the township Zoning Board of Appeals for a one-year term
- approved temporary appropriations of $700,000 for the first quarter of 2014
- added 370 feet to the township miles on Red Tail Drive and removed 1,292.28 feet of one lane of Metz Road from the township miles due to annexation
- released a check of $5,899 for the new copier from Valley Office Solutions.
An end-of-year meeting will be held at noon Dec. 31 to handle any last-minute business, with meetings in January moved to 7 p.m. Jan. 9 and Jan. 23.