Hiram Twp. – At the recent meeting, Fiscal Officer Diane Rodhe noted that letters were drafted for Hiram Village Mayor Bertrand regarding Regional Income Tax issues and the potential of the township and Village jointly seeking bids for curbside refuse and recycling. The letters were approved, signed, and delivered to the Village Council Meeting that same evening.

In public comment, two township residents from Allyn Road and Hidden Hill Trail were present to express their opposition to the proposed Verizon cell tower project. They shared their opinions of the outcome of a recent meeting hosted by Verizon representatives in which the project was defined for local residents. The residents expressed their concerns that the minimal benefit to Verizon would provide minimal benefit to local residents. They maintain that a tower would reduce property values and mar the scenery of the rural township, and asked if trustees could help stop the project. Trustee Kathy Schulda shared that trustees sent letters to the fourteen affected residents as soon as they saw the public notice from Verizon in the newspaper.

Trustees Jack Groselle and Schulda shared that although the State controls projects of this type, the township’s BZA has implemented requirements to make implementation of these projects within the township as unattractive as possible. The township now has requirements in place, including limiting the design of a potential tower to a style that is more costly to erect, and offers less benefit to the cell provider. They noted that due to these BZA requirements, there are currently no cell towers within the township. They recommended that residents contact the State for assistance, requesting the State require that any approved tower be buffered and inconspicuous to residents. Trustees shared that once a ruling has been made, residents may file an appeal within 30 days. A follow-up meeting has been scheduled with Verizon on March 6th at 6:30 pm in the township hall. At that time, Verizon will be presenting alternative locations on the proposed parcel for tower placement; residents are encouraged to attend.

In addition, Tim Kasper, a resident on Cheryl Drive, was in attendance. He inquired about the letter sent to residents of Cheryl and Cherl Wood Drives that notified residents that the condition of the roads may prevent the Fire Department from bringing emergency vehicles onto the roadway. Mr. Kasper inquired about whether or not the Fire Department will respond if they are called. He was assured that the Fire Department will respond, but that condition of the roads may be prohibitive in the response time. Mr. Kasper will contact Chief Byers for more insight in the matter. In related news, Assistant Fire Chief Baynes reported that the average response time in December 2016 was five minutes and 32 seconds, and that the department conducted 34 runs that month.
In other news, Trustee Steve Pancost MOVEDto change the township’s July meeting date from the fourth to July 11th. This change will be noted on the township’s website. In addition, Mr. Pancost reported the first culvert nearest State Route 700 on Allyn Road had some washout resulting from the recent hard rain. In related news, Road Supervisor Tom Matota ordered a replacement grate for the catch basin on Allyn Road. In similar news, he reported that Asbury Road has also suffered some water damage from the recent rains. He discussed the possibility of replacing a culvert near that roadway as well.

Moving forward, Mr. Matota discussed bids received on the proposed cold storage building. After lengthy discussion, during which Mr. Matota estimated that site preparation work would cost considerably more than was originally anticipated, it was agreed that Mr. Matota would get stakes set to better define the area in question. In addition, Mr. Groselle will follow up with the local company who recently erected the salt shed to request a bid from that company, as well.
In his Zoning report, Rich Gano reported that the township is looking for a new Zoning and BZA secretary, effective immediately. Interested individuals in this paid position should contact Kathy at kschulda@hiramtownship.org. In addition, the township is looking for residents to serve a one-year term as BZA alternate. Interested individuals in this volunteer position should contact Ms. Schulda at the same email address.

The follow-up meeting regarding the proposed Verizon cell tower will be held on March 6th at 6:30 pm in the township hall. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 7th at 7 pm, also at the township Hall.