The situation was noticed earlier this year.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The Poland Municipal Forest, also known by some as Poland Village Park, is known as a haven for some wildlife and flowers and serenity for the visitors who walk its 250 wooded acres.
It may have been that tranquil environment two Boardman Township homeowners were looking to find when they built their homes at the park's edge some two decades ago.
Surveys show, however, that the homes are more than close to the park -- they are partly in it.
John Holecko built his log-style home on Walker Mill Road himself in the mid-1980s. Through miscalculation or some other misjudgment in the building process, Holecko took the house a little too far into park property.
Now some of the logs, about 7 inches worth, stick out beyond the property line and into the woods. Looking back on the situation, Holecko has "no idea how it happened."
House next door: There is also a house next door to the Holecko home, owned by William Green, where a small portion of the driveway extends onto park property.
No one is certain what led to the mistake when the houses were built, but it was not discovered until Poland village officials decided to officially bring a large part of the woods home to Poland.
The village always has owned the park area, but for years most of it was actually situated in Boardman Township.
Annexation petition: Mahoning County commissioners accepted a petition in December 2000 from village residents who voted to have the property annexed in 1996. Village council accepted the annexation of the more than 200 acres in January.
The issue of ownership came up several years ago when there was confusion over which police department -- Boardman or Poland village -- was responsible for patrolling the area.
Lou Rescineto, Boardman zoning inspector, who was not inspector when the homes were built, said single-family zoning in the township calls for at least 8 feet of space from the nearest property line for structures.
He said, typically, the property would have been inspected when the foundation was laid. Someone, he said, must not have realized the strip of the Holecko land was actually park property.
As for the Green home, Rescineto said driveways are not considered structures and can extend to the end of the property line. For some reason this driveway was laid a little too far over, he added.
Amicable deal sought: Village Mayor Ruth Z. Wilkes said officials are not looking to make a big deal out of the situation, but hoping to reach an agreement that will work to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
"We intend to be amicable about this," the mayor said. "We are not looking to be hard-nosed. I am sure we can reach some type of agreement."
Holecko said he would be satisfied to trade some of his rear property to make up the difference for where his house has extended into the park.
The Poland Forest Board will need to make recommendations to council on what is the best way to handle the situation. Council will then need to make a decision.