LISBON - The Moore Road controversy is now in the laps of Columbiana County commissioners.
Nine property owners on and around Moore Road in St. Clair Township filed a petition seeking to close a 30-foot section of the road totaling 1.8 acres, with commissioners officially accepting the petition at Wednesday's meeting.
This has to be done before commissioners can set a hearing date to take comments on the petition, which is scheduled June 11.
Two petition opponents - Charles and Laura Bramel of Moore Road - were in attendance and presented commissioners with separate letters. The one from Mr. Bramel requested commissioners "return" the petition, saying the so-called road some want closed does not officially exist.
Ms. Bramel, in her letter, said the private horseback riding business she operates uses the disputed section of ground to get to and from nearby Beaver Creek State Park by way of Moore Road to Bell School Road. She also requested the petition be rejected.
Commissioners would not take any comment, telling the Bramels the time to hear from them and others would be at the hearing, after which they will make a decision.
Trustees hear final word
CALCUTTA - Chester Channels, president of Moore Road Horse Association, and Laura Bramel, vice president, attended Tuesday's St. Clair Township Trustees' meeting, when the petition to vacate the disputed small plat of land was presented.
And despite a rule adopted May 6 by trustees to cease discussion of the Moore Road controversy during meetings, Bramel did get a few comments in, inlcuding informing trustees that property owner Mike Holdin had reportedly erected a gate across the right-of-way, effectively blocking the path for horseriders.
Trustees responded by saying they were aware Holdin had done so, but told Bramel they would not take action to force him remove it. A recent survey showed 95 feet of Moore Road thought to belong to the township actually belongs to Holdin.
"We don't know that that property is not his," said Trustee Bob Swickard. "That's according to the surveyors and that's all we have to go by."
Both Channels and Bramel told trustees that the portion of the right-of-way being asked to be vacated, which they refer to as "Old Moore Road," has, in fact, been used as a roadway "for years."
But before talk escalated, trustees halted the discussion citing the newly-adopted policy not to speak about the controversy.
The petition, seeking the land be vacated, was approved and forwarded to county commissioners.
By DEVIN BEZEREDI, Review Staff Writer
The dispute began in January, when the Moore Road Horse Association asked township trustees to grant it a 30-foot easement, which members say they use to ride their horses to the park by way of Moore and Bell School roads. The section is a township-owned right-of-way, and bordering property owners say the horsemen stray from the right-of-way onto their property and damage their fields.
In response to the request, trustees asked the county engineer's to perform a survey of the ground. Trustees concluded that although it had been deeded to the township for road purposes, it was never officially opened or used as such. This was disputed by the Bramels and other association members.
The trustees also said those residents whose property abut the public right-of-way have the right to petition commissioners to have it officially closed, which is what they have done. The property owners are David and Laurie McCoy, George and Majorie Drovdlic, Gary and Nancy McCoy, William Sheville and Michael and Karla Holden.