Road access questioned

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 14, 2007

SOUTH POINT — There is no road line or any semblance of a road next to Johann Walker’s house. It looks like part of her yard.

But there is a road easement that goes beside her property that is causing her and her neighbors to be concerned, she said.

“I’ve lived in this old house 23 years,” said Walker, of South Point. “I took care of (the road) for 22 years and after 21 years, you can have it vacated.”

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What originally caused her concern was when a neighbor who owns 45 acres behind her house started measuring the area to open the roadway.

She thought her neighbor — Robert Stephens — wanted it for logging, a claim Stephens denies. Still, she went to Perry Township trustees to see if it is a township road. Walker took up a petition in the neighborhood and took it to the trustees to try to stop reopening the road.

She has now filed to have the road vacated, meaning it would not longer be recognized as a roadway. The outcome is pending.

The Kids Are Our Future Day Care Center owner, Vivian McCartney, was concerned if logging trucks came by there and what it would do if the road had to be widened in front of her property. It would leave just a few feet from her front door.

“It would take some of the property and porches if they expand the road,” McCartney said. “Our main concern is more traffic.”

Right now the road just circles around the neighborhood and there is no through traffic.

“Everybody in this area wants it to stay the way that it is,” McCartney said.

George Rowe, township clerk said that after going to the county engineer, he found out that it is not a township road. The township road ends at Walker’s house and does not continue. The trustees forwarded her petition to the commissioners, he said.

“So, we won’t be opening it up,” Rowe said. “I did tell her that if he had the right of way, there wouldn’t be anything we could do to keep him from opening it up.”

For Stephens, owner of the 45 acres, he says the problem is he has no access to his property.

“I’m landlocked. All I want to do is open up another way into my property,” Stephens said. “I’m not logging anything. The road’s not big enough for any commercial use.”

On the opposite side of his property, Stephens said the county has indicated its road ends before it gets to his property line, so his access is blocked on that side.

“The (county) said that road doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “It used to be Euclid and now they say it’s abandoned.”

So, he is locked without an entrance on either side of his property.

Stephens said the easement on the side of the property next to Walker’s property goes back to 1922 and he has a deed showing the easement into the property.

“It’s just an easement that I’ve got and it’s on the deeds,” Stephens said. “I’ve got the deeds. Counting me there’s four people that border that property. I’m just trying to get a better way into it.”