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Kitts Hill resident sues to stop road project

A Kitts Hill woman has filed a lawsuit against the Lawrence County Commissioners and the Lawrence Township Trustees to stop a road construction project.

The lawsuit filed in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas by Donna Gail Dickess alleges the procedures followed for passing the legislation authorizing the widening of Ice Creek-Myrtle Church Road (Lawrence Township Road 248) have violated Chapter 5553 of the Ohio Revised Code in the following respects:

-- The proposed roadway fails to begin and end on a public road.

-- The petition submitted by property owners in the road's vicinity to the Lawrence County Commissioners requesting the widening was deficient because some of the individuals signing the petition were not freeholders, and the petition fails to specifically state what changes to the road are being requested.

-- The Aug. 22 resolution passed by the Lawrence County Commissioners directing the widening of the road failed to establish a date for the viewing and hearing of the contemplated improvements and does not contain a description of the contemplated route and termini for the road as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

-- The resolution fails to direct the Lawrence County Engineer to make an accurate survey of the contemplated roadway as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

The plantiff, represented by Portsmouth attorney Stephen C. Rodeheffer, seeks a declaratory judgment finding that the Lawrence County Commissioners and all resolutions dealing with widening or alteration of Ice Creek-Myrtle Church Road to be illegal and null and void. Also, the plantiff seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing the Lawrence County Commission and the Lawrence Township Trustees from changing, widening or moving the road pending disposition of the compliant.

Dickess, a resident of Drift Creek Road (County Road 61), is a property owner whose land is adjacent to and accessed in part by Ice Creek-Myrtle Church Road.

Rodeheffer was out of town and unavailable for comment at press time.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier who represents the Lawrence County Commission was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Alvin Harper Jr., Lawrence Township Trustee, said Ice Creek-Myrtle Church Road is approximately 10 feet wide.

The widening project will make it 20 feet wider, he said.

The road is too narrow for two cars to pass each other, he continued. Because of this, emergency personnel, especially firefighters, have trouble getting to their destinations.