Poland Village passes natural lawn ordinance

Staff photo / J.T. Whitehouse Poland Village Planning Commission Chairman Mark Thompson, left, welcomes Mark Minehart to the commission as the newest member. Minehart said he looks forward to serving the Village.

POLAND — Village Council held third readings for three ordinances Tuesday dealing with natural lawns after several residents expressed interest in having them, according to Council President Michael Thompson.

His simplest explanation for what a natural lawn is all about was “a well maintained meadow.” It uses natural occurring grasses that are not very tall, but would fit the meadow idea.

“It is environmentally sustainable landscaping,” he said. “It is part of a growing trend.”

Council approved three ordinances dealing with natural lawns, exterior property areas and accessory structures to create an exemption for natural lawns, and restrictions on residential lots. Thompson said that council is willing to let people have natural lawn on the sides and rear areas of a residential property, but not in the front.

Council also said that the county is paving North Lima Road from the south up to Ravine Place. Village Solicitor Jay Macejko said he will ask the Mahoning County Auditor if there is a municipal road fund that comes from the $5 fee on license plates that could be used to finish the 0.3 miles of North Lima Road from Ravine Place to state Route 170.

In the meantime, council discussed funding the small portion at a cost of roughly $31,000 and then seeking reimbursement.

In another road issue, resident Ken Adams from Johnson Place addressed council on what could be done about Alvern Drive. Adams’ driveway empties out onto Alvern, which used to be a gravel road.

“About four inches of gravel was put down and four inches of base laid on top,” he said. “That created a dam for water and it builds on my lawn. I just want a natural runoff to take the water away.”

Adams said the road was put in around 2020.

Macejko said he looked up the paperwork for the road, which is a dedicated road that was never developed. Mayor Tim Sicafuse said he would get with the new village engineer and see what could be done.

Thompson asked if it would be cheaper to remove the road and return it to gravel. Adams said he preferred to just find a way to drain the stormwater and keep the road.

Councilwoman Abbie Bosak said she could show up at the site with Councilman Chris Graff and review the situation. She said something needed to be done.

“Mr. Adams has been coming here many times to ask for help,” Bosak said. “He has always been respectful and polite and we should help him out.”

She said it needs to be evident that council listens to calm, respectful residents and it’s not just those who shout and show anger who get resolutions.

In other business, council approved Sicafuse’s recommendation to put Mark Minehart on the Village Planning Commission to fill a vacant seat. Minehart said he grew up in Poland and graduated from Poland Seminary High School in 1991. He attended the University of Toledo and graduated in 1996. He married and moved back to Poland and has been a constant volunteer in Poland Woods.

The Planning Commission, according to commission chairman Mark Thompson, is responsible for reviewing, altering and developing village ordinances dealing with residential and commercial lots. The commission makes recommendations and council accepts or denies the changes.

Council also discussed the Mahoning County 911 Review Board. The state is making counties in Ohio create a 911 Review Board and Poland Village has been asked to vote on one of four candidates to serve on that board. The candidates are Dallas A. Bigley of Struthers, Michael S. Patrick of Struthers, Julius Oliver of Youngstown and Christine Oliver of Canfield. Council voted for Christine Oliver.

Have an interesting story? Contact J.T. Whitehouse by email at jtwhitehouse@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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