A notification process is in the works for ditch eliminations in Bainbridge.

During the regular trustees meeting Monday night, the board was in general agreement that the township service department will create a notification form in conjunction with the Geauga County Engineer’s Office. This would notify residents or township property owners when there are any issues with maintenance of roadside ditch eliminations on their properties. Upon notification, the property owner would have two weeks to inform the township of their plan to correct the issue.

Trustee Chairwoman Kristina O’Brien emphasized that roadside ditches are important to the township due to their effect on stormwater management. She said that in cases where ditch elimination may be permitted, it is important that this is done properly through the county engineer per the township’s agreement with the Geauga County Highway Use Manual.

“Eliminated ditches, if properly done, are part of the stormwater process,” Mrs. O’Brien said. “But if they are improperly done, they affect other homes and riparian rights.”

Service Director Jim Stanek noted that while there are not many ditch eliminations permitted in the township, there are some that are warranted due to maintenance issues or failures. In cases where eliminations were permitted, he said sometimes they are either still done improperly or end up requiring additional maintenance down the road.

“We’ve got some [eliminations] out there that aren’t working that need to be addressed,” Mr. Stanek said. “They need to be maintained or they need to be removed and they’re causing issues.

“When we’ve identified a ditch elimination that has not been maintained or perhaps was installed improperly and we determine that it needs to be either cleaned or removed, I would suggest we provide two weeks notice to the property owner,” he added.

Mr. Stanek confirmed that in cases where ditch eliminations are permitted, they must still be maintained and have access for cleaning for proper stormwater flow. He said if these criteria are not met, the elimination may have to be removed at the cost of the property owner to avoid stormwater damage to township infrastructure due to improper drainage.

Sam Cottrill started reporting for the Times in February 2019 and covers Auburn, Bainbridge, Bentleyville and Chagrin, Kenston, Solon and West Geauga schools. She graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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