Nelson Twp. – Township officials present at the first Nelson Township trustee meeting, held Wednesday, April 19th, were Fiscal Officer John David Finney; Trustees Joe Leonard, Mike Elias, and Kevin Cihan; Anna Mae VanDerHoeven, Chuck Vanek, and Sandi Huzl.
After the meeting was called to order, Finney presented the trustees with a number of items to be signed. Among the items were the minutes from the prior meeting, a current fund status report showing a balance of just under $300,000, and a payment listing.
Finney also reported that the oxygen monitor of the township garage was on order. Elias requested Finney print out the fund status report for the same period in 2015 and 2016 so the trustees could get a better idea of where they are at financially compared to years past. The previous meeting’s minutes were accepted as presented in a motion made by Leonard, seconded by Cihan and approved by all.
After discussion with Vanek, the trustees approved ordering 300 tons of road salt through the ODOT summer salt program. Purchasing salt through the summer program has traditionally allowed the township to realize savings over winter orders.
Cihan read a letter from Garfield Schools Superintendent Ted Lysiak in support of the township’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) proposed plan.
Huzl reported that scheduling at the Pixley Park ballfield has remained pretty much the same. Leonard mentioned that he has spoken with one of the groups using the ballfield about the importance of cleaning up their litter.
VanDerHoeven reported that Larry Hermann received approval on his requested zoning variance. She also mentioned that the Community House marquee had been updated to reflect the names of the new caretakers. To rent the community house interested parties should now contact Dan & Sandi Huzl at 330-717-5410.
VanDerHoeven also reminded the trustees that they needed to let her know what shifts they would be working during the annual Nelson Township Clean-Up. This year’s clean-up is scheduled for May 6th & 7th from 9am-4:00pm (or until full) both day at the Community House. There will be a limit of 6 tires per household, and unlimited batteries and appliances. Note that paint, oil, gasoline, hazardous chemicals, yard debris, shingles, concrete and construction materials are NOT ACCEPTED. Also be aware that you will be required to show ID, as this service is available only to Nelson Township residents.
Dick Bonner was in attendance to answer some questions from the trustees regarding the marijuana processing facility he is seeking approval from the state to construct on a section of the old turkey farm property. Each of the trustees indicated that they had a chance to speak with Bonner since the previous meeting, though Elias still had some questions about security at the potential facility. Bonner spoke about the many different security apparatuses the state will want to see put into place and does plan to meet all of the requirements. Security would potentially include fencing around the facility, biometric security, 100% camera coverage with remote monitoring capability for law enforcement, and motion detection sensors. Bonner also spoke to the trustees in favor of the CRA and offered several examples of commercial growth in Portage County.
The trustees made and unanimously approved a motion to permit the cultivation and processing of medical marijuana on the two lots, known as the turkey farm, more specifically lots 25.007.00.00.012.033 and 25.007.0026.012. This approval is limited to the applicant, Dick Bonner, and only for the area specified. Any future projects of this sort would have to be approved on a case by case basis by the township officials. (About 25 minutes into the meeting video)
Resident Dan Dolan questioned Leonard about whether it was appropriate for him to be talking to business owners about the CRA. Dolan believes Leonard “acted outside the board.” Leonard responded to Dolan briefly and suggested that Dolan was blowing things out of proportion for the purpose of creating a “witch hunt.” As a trustee Leonard can talk to business owners and residents in the township to get their opinions on township policies and proposals. Leonard went on to question Dolan about whether he was still selling slot machines out of his residence (technically a home business, which Nelson township now requires a permit for). Dolan sells slot machines on eBay and other online sites, which VanDerHoeven says currently is not specifically regulated by the home business zoning rules. Not to be dissuaded, Dolan asked if Leonard had filed proper paperwork for his signage at J. Leonard Gallery, it has been confirmed that all paperwork has been filed. Trustee Cihan stepped in to cut off the bicker battle between Dolan and Leonard when it became clear the discussion was, in short, pointless. Leonard then terminated further discussions with Dolan.
Elias asked the board to allow him to take a tour of the Quarry Park to see how progress is going with their increased camp sites. Elias is also to remind them of the Memorandum of Understanding with the township. The board received a report from the health department which indicated a number of issues at the campground. Elias made it clear he was going to observe, not enforce anything from the health department. He’ll also be talking to them about their fencing after neighboring property owners experienced trespassers.
Leonard mentioned Mr. Sedensky and Mr. Dewalt are interested in paying the township to oil the road in front of their properties to control dust from the road. He also informed the other trustees about the new park ranger at Nelson Kennedy Ledges and his desire to come to a future meeting to introduce himself.
Leonard then shared that Aaron King of SkyLanes and Queen of Hearts fame had approached Leonard and asked if the township had any projects that could benefit from a 50/50 raffle boost. Leonard emailed both trustees — Cihan and Elias — asking them if they had a preference of which projects should benefit from this round of raffles. Leonard reported that Cihan replied in a timely manner indicating it did not matter to him, however he had not heard from Elias. As time was of the essence in getting onto the raffle list, Leonard told King that the raffle money could be used for equipment and maintenance on the ball field at the township owned Pixley Park.
During the meeting, Elias did have an opinion on how the raffle money should be used. Elias wanted to know why the money could not just be put into the fund for the veterans memorial project. Leonard tried to explain that listing the veteran’s memorial project as the beneficiary now, and again later this fall when the payout is potentially better (as originally planned) runs the risk of looking “piggish” to the public. A temperate argument ensued between Elias and Leonard and lead to a short, but decent, discussion on the veteran’s memorial project.
The meeting was adjourned, following some additional comments from those in attendance. The full video of this meeting is available below.
The Nelson Township trustees meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. in the Nelson Community House. Attend a meeting and learn more about your community.