Village is not responsible for maintaining 13 alleys

Village is not responsible for maintaining 13 alleys
Lori Feeney

Zoar Village Council recently passed an ordinance stating they will not maintain 13 closed or unopened alleys and street sections. The ordinance says it has long been the village policy for residents and businesses who are allowed use of those alleys and streets to maintain them.


At the July 12 meeting of Zoar Village Council, members passed an ordinance stating the village is not responsible for maintaining 13 alleys and partial streets including those displaced by the Zoar Levee. The alleys and streets named have either been closed or were never opened.

The ordinance also says it has long been village policy to allow residents and businesses to use those passages for private access to their properties, provided the users maintain them.

Section 2 of the ordinance says, “The village will not resurface, gravel, snow plow, mow or otherwise maintain an unopened or closed street or alley used for other private purposes by an adjoining property owner.”

Section 3 repeals any ordinances previously passed that may conflict with the new legislation.

The measure did not pass unanimously. Voting against the ordinance were council members Kim Klingaman and Tom Klingaman, chair of the safety committee.

Village wants fire
department to pay rent

On July 6 the village won its lawsuit against the Zoar Volunteer Fire Department, and the department was ordered to vacate the building.

At the council meeting, Law Director Doug Frautschy said he has not been notified as to whether the department will try to appeal the decision. He said they have 30 days to do so, but one issue still pending in court must be resolved before the 30-day clock can begin ticking.

“One of the things the village asked for was that the fire department pay rent for the time they occupied the building after their contract ended,” Frautschy said. “Until that issue is resolved, it’s not final.”

Mayor’s report

Mayor Scott Gordon informed council of two new sources of grant funding available for municipal infrastructure projects and outdoor spaces. One is the Appalachian Community Grant Program just signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, designating $500 to fund projects in the 32 Appalachian counties. The other source is a tax credit expansion for historic buildings.

Gordon also said work is progressing on the Zoar Levee rehabilitation, with about half of the interceptor trench complete. Gordon said he confirmed with the Army Corps that none of the vibration monitors indicated any levels above what was expected.

Possible cemetery

Council member Mark Gaynor said the cemetery board met recently to consider expanding the cemetery. “We’ve got two rows left in the old section. It’s not an emergency, but if we wait, it will become an emergency,” he said.

Gaynor said the inclusion of a pet cemetery was discussed but nothing finalized.

In a related matter, David Irwin, street commissioner, reported the historical marker at the Zoar Cemetery has been split in half. It is unknown whether the damage was caused by a vehicle hitting it or vandalism. It is unclear whether the poured aluminum sign can be repaired or if it will need to be replaced.

In other matters

Council President Gayle Potelicki said the planning commission is still working on recommended zoning changes, along with tightening up the language in some ordinances she said are too ambiguous.

Fiscal officer Patty Smith asked council to pass an emergency ordinance to amend appropriations. The ordinance was needed, she said, to account for funds recently received from the Ohio History Connection and the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as to designate funds for insurance on the fire station now owned by the village. Council voted to pass the measure.

Smith also reported a 12% increase in the village insurance premium. Councilman Joe Potelicki said the increase was $404 and occurred for two reasons. The property values for the Town Hall and the garage increased slightly.

“The Town Hall was originally valued at $824,700, and it’s $842,700 now, and the garage, which was valued at $33,635, now is valued at $34,980,” he said.

Potelicki said the other change was the result of increased cybersecurity coverage.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Zoar School House.

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