Work Session

Perry Township Board of Trustees

Work Session

June 12, 2012 7:00pm

Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance:

Excused absence:  

Additions/Deletions to Agenda: None.

Public Hearings/Invited Guests: None.

Communications:  None.

Public Speaks on items up for Board Approval: None.

Township Business requiring Board Action:

Unfinished Business: None.

New Business:

Trustee Chessler made a motion to approve bills in the amount of $42,544.09 for the week ending June 12, 2012; Seconded by Trustee Haines.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.

Fiscal Officer:  

Trustee Laubacher made a motion to approve the minutes from the June 5, 2012 Regular Meeting; Seconded by Trustee Chessler.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.


Discussion with Nick Morris, Fasnacht Farm Park Coordinator

Mr. Morris stated that he requested a meeting with the Board so that everyone can be on the same page as far as the operations of the farm park because things are up and active.  The purpose of this meeting is to review the philosophy of the farm park.  The reason this all popped up was because in operating a “No Mow” plan without a whole lot of public education results in people thinking that nobody cares about the property.  Trustee Chessler suggested that everyone get together to rehash this matter.

Mr. Morris reviewed a power point presentation that he gave to the officers of the home owners association for Perry Commons.  The idea of the farm park is to make it sustainable through three things; ecological balance, social integration and economic viability.  The idea was to take an entrepreneur farmer who will respect the wishes of the public.  Some of the components that fit into that are natural growth food products and eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers on the property.  The farm has maintained naturalized areas not only with agriculture but in allowing pollinators, insects, birds and butterflies.  The farm park has direct grower to consumer sales.  Mr. Bender doesn’t sell to a middleman at a lower value but he can sell at the actual value of the product without being subsidized.  The farm park also encourages community involvement through education and activities on the grounds.

Mr. Morris stated that one of the main goals by minimizing the mowing and having strategic mowing and planting is to maintain natural buffers between residential areas and the farm land for privacy purposes and the natural purposes of the land.  This also increases the ecological value of the open space on the property.  Mr. Hall inquired if there was a way to provide education to the public on why the land isn’t being mowed in certain areas.  Mr. Morris stated that there are ways to provide education to the public.  Trustee Chessler stated that the residents of the condo association expected the grass to be maintained in a certain way but once they are educated on the benefits of this idea they may understand better.  Mr. Morris stated that he sent the Board an ariel view of the property with the “No Mow” areas highlighted in blue which includes; along the roadway, stream, open fields and some wooded areas.  The goal is to establish those as “No Mow” areas for the reasons of improving the ecology and maintaining the natural buffers.  Trustee Chessler inquired how those areas will look.  Trustee Haines stated that when he was out at the farm last week some of the grassy areas have grown to approximately two (2) feet tall.  Mr. Morris stated that these are areas that have no future plans of being public access or agricultural value.  The plan is to prepare the ground and seed it with native short grass with a thirty (30) percent mix of wild flowers which would all be native to Ohio.  This will provide several benefits; only needs maintained once or twice a year, improve aesthetics and have roots depths up to eight (8) to ten (10) feet which will help improve the quality of the water and soil.

Trustee Haines inquired how the residents from the condo association reacted to the placement of wildflowers and the possibility of the seed going into their yards.  Mr. Morris stated that what he found to be more of an issue with the condo association was the “Tree of Heaven” that is growing there.  “Trees of Heaven” are a horribly invasive tree that have long leaves that are between one (1) and four (4) feet in length and then they have smaller leaflets.  This tree also spreads under ground and it takes a lot of work to eradicate it.  The condo association has been trying to handle it on their side by cutting it back but what they are doing essentially is pruning it.  It takes some chemical treatment, diligence and commitment to get rid of it.  The second level of improving this area would be to try and get rid of this plant to alleviate this concern.  Mr. Morris stated that when he was discussing the native short grass and wildflowers with the condo association he was only getting affirmative head nodding.  The president of the condo association even inquired about doing native short grass and wildflowers on their side of the bank to help improve the look and value to the area.  Mr. Morris stated that he has asked Administrator Fetzer to budget for the purchase of the seeds and also offered to keep the condo association in the loop with the project.  Trustee Chessler inquired how much this project would cost.  Mr. Morris stated that he was not sure at this time.  Mr. Schlegel stated that the only way the Township could pay for the removal of the tree is if it is on Township property.  Mr. Morris stated that is what he told the residents of the condo association.  Mr. Hall inquired if this is something that the Road Department could help with in regards to getting in there with a back ho and excavator to haul away the tree.  Mr. Morris stated that would be a step in the right direction but he would really have to look into the matter a little more.  Mr. Morris stated that step one in improving the aesthetic value of the farm park would be to clean out the area along the stream and plant the native short grass and wild flower seeds this fall.  

Mr. Blythe stated that he feels that this matter is a “slippery slope” because the Township wants Fasnacht Farm to be a farm park.  When people think of a park they think of a well maintained area.  If the Township is going to call it a park then people are going to wonder why it’s not being mowed.  Then residents are going to be wondering why they have to maintain their properties but the Township doesn’t have to maintain theirs the same way.  Mr. Morris stated that he represents Stark County Park District which covers 7,000 acres of park land where this philosophy is implemented.  Yes, there is a community park/recreational park expectation of having mowed areas.  Mr. Morris stated that he is proposing not having an area that is readily and regularly accessible to the public that they can let go.  This will reduce the wasted mowing, fuel, dollars spent on mowing areas that nobody steps foot on.  Mr. Morris stated that if a resident is going to implement native grasses and wildflowers into a retention basin or into an improvement on their private property he would back them one hundred and ten (110) percent.   Mr. Blythe inquired about zoning regulations.  Mr. Hall stated that this will not be Fasnacht Farm wide and it will only be in the designated areas.  Mr. Blythe stated that he is not complaining but people are going to complain and there is really no right or wrong answer to give them.  Mr. Morris stated that he would have to disagree because there is a major difference in letting something go without maintenance versus having a strategic plan for a site that may look different but it is properly maintained and providing value to the community.  Mr. Blythe stated that no matter what happens the Township should be prepared for concerned people to come through the door because they are going to want to know why this is being done.  Trustee Haines stated that there are farms all throughout Perry Township and it is difficult to compare farms to residential neighborhoods that most people live in.

Trustee Chessler stated that this all came about because a resident from the condo association called him and assumed that Mr. Bender had become too busy and this became a matter of neglect.  After talking to Mr. Morris, Trustee Chessler found that this is not neglect and that it is in fact a strategy.  Mr. Hall stated that this all fits in with the original concept of the Fasnacht Farm Park which was to establish good ecological land management practices.  Mr. Hall inquired what Mr. Morris would have to do to work up cost estimates for this project.  Mr. Morris stated that the cost estimate for the seeding is just a matter of knowing the exact acreage.  The “Tree of Heaven” issue will have to be looked into further to determine what strategy and services would be needed.  Trustee Chessler verified that the residents of the condo association had a mutual understanding of what would and would not be mowed.  There was also discussion between property owners both south and east of the farm park regarding dumping their grass clippings and brush on the farm park land.  The Township will erect signs and notify residents by letter to inform them not to use Township land as a dumping ground.  Mr. Morris stated that was correct and the meeting was very positive.  Mr. Morris invited the Board to contact him at anytime if there are any questions in the future.

Discussion of Internet Café Operators Fee

Mr. Hall stated that other communities have used zoning to raise fees for internet cafes and he was going to make a proposal through a combination of home rule and zoning so that a reasonable fee could be assessed.  Currently, House Bill 386 is being signed into law effective today which may affect home rule.  Mr. Hall stated that the House Bill is 3,500 pages long and he has not had the time to review the entire document but he will do so and get back to the Board prior to next Tuesday.  Trustee Chessler suggested that if the Township is not pre-empted that Mr. Hall email the Board a document from another community for discussion.  Mr. Hall stated that the Zoning Department is already working on this matter from the zoning perspective and they have copies of what Canton, Jackson and Plain Townships have done.  Mr. Hall stated that he will hopefully have a memorandum to the Board before the end of the week.  

Trustee Laubacher stated that he would like to see the Board move forward with something to remedy the address numbering problem on Brook Ave.  Trustee Chessler inquired what could be done.  Mr. Hall stated that he spoke with Chief Martin this morning and inquired if the Board would have any interest in drafting a letter inviting all of the potentially effected homeowners to a work session to discuss this problem and a possible remedy.  Mr. Hall inquired how difficult it would be to train the Police Department and Fire Department on the house numbering on this street.  Trustee Laubacher stated that he understands but it is very difficult when you are in an ambulance running to a call trying to find something in a hurry.  Trustee Chessler stated that rather than having a room full of people the Board should just have a plan and implement it.  Mr. Hall stated that the recommendation was to simultaneously request Stark County House Numbering and the Stark County Commissioners to renumber those streets.  Trustee Haines stated that the Board has to look at what is best for the Township and the public officers who have to respond to those areas.  Mr. Hall stated that he went to the House Numbering Department and they gave the numbers that they recommended so he will prepare a resolution for the Board to consider next week.

Fire Department: None.

Police Department: None.

Road Department: None.

Law Director: None.

Zoning: None.

Parks/Recycling: None.

Executive Session(s):  None.

Department Matters Not Requiring Board Action:

Administration: None.

Fire Department: None.

Parks/Recycling: None.

Police Department: None.

Road Department: None.


Law Director: None.

Upcoming Events: None.

Public Speaks-Open Forum:


With nothing further to come before the Board, Trustee Haines made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:55pm; Seconded by Trustee Chessler.

ROLL CALL: Mr. Chessler, yes.  Mr. Laubacher, yes.  Mr. Haines, yes.


Craig E. Chessler, President                                    

 Joe Schlegel, Fiscal Officer