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07-26-06 Motorists, snow plowers wait to learn who owns the obstructing land

By Tim Cox

  Mercer County Commissioners have agreed to undertake an eminent domain proceeding on behalf of Franklin Township Trustees to clear up a congested area on the south side of Grand Lake.

  Township officials want to claim a tiny parcel of land along Circle Drive to create a new cul-de-sac so the area is not so troublesome for snowplows and residents who park their vehicles along the narrow, unimproved road. Township trustees in turn have agreed to reimburse the county for the legal costs associated with the proposal.

   But officials have been unable to determine who actually owns the land in question, which has complicated the issue.

  Township trustees want the small parcel of land near the bend in Circle Drive, a street that bends 180 degrees, beginning and ending on Bass Drive, just off It's It Road. Gaining the extra land would make it easier for vehicles to navigate the tight turn, especially for snowplows.

  The area, located near Kozy Campground, is densely populated with trailers, modular homes and park model homes, which are essentially trailers permanently affixed to concrete foundations. Most of Circle Drive is unpaved. Many of the residents in the area are seasonal inhabitants, staying only during the warm-weather months.  "We just want to make it simpler for everybody," Franklin Township Trustee Tom Rose said. "Everybody wants something done with it. It could be a real good deal for everybody if we can get everything worked out."

  Rose also said many residents have expressed an interest in gaining more room for traffic and parked cars.

  County prosecuting attorney Andy Hinders' office is researching the ownership of the land and pursuing the eminent domain case. Township trustees have agreed to reimburse the county for its legal costs associated with the procedure.

  The likely solution is to create a cul-de-sac so the narrow street does not go all the way through the tightly packed neighborhood, Rose said. Trustees also hope to eventually pave the broken road surface, he said.

  "The current road conditions make plowing the road during inclement weather to be hazardous to persons and property," the commissioners' resolution says.

  There are no estimates available on the legal costs for the court proceedings.


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