Geauga County Commissioners on Tuesday delayed action on a request to vacate Wisner Road in Chardon Township.

The commissioners unanimously voted to table the matter until next week to allow another week for discussions between Holden Arboretum and residents of Wisner Road to “work out a deal of some kind,” Commissioner James Dvorak said.

The commissioners’ action came just days after a public hearing where residents packed the room.

Consideration for the Wisner Road issue began on Aug. 18 when Chardon trustees filed a petition requesting county commissioners to vacate the public right-of-way on the roadway at the intersection of Mitchells Mill Road to a point south located at an existing portion that was previously vacated.

Before that, trustees asked residents, Geauga County Engineer’s Office officials and representatives of Holden Arboretum for input.

Chardon Township Trustee Tim McKenna previously said that Wisner was abandoned in the late 1960s to early 1970s due to the Chagrin River washing out the road from Kirtland-Chardon Road to Mitchells Mills.

Holden Arboretum CEO Jill Koski and Geauga County Engineer Joe Cattell met with trustees on Oct. 6 and concluded that the county commissioners must make the final decision on whether the road should be vacated.

On Oct. 14, commissioners held a public hearing in which almost all in attendance spoke with the consensus that the section of Wisner Road should be vacated.

Holden Arboretum in 2020 purchased 52 acres of land in Chardon Township adjacent to Wisner Road. One issue is that residents still want access to the river and that general area through a portion of Wisner Road.

Holden Arboretum counsel Dale Markowitz said that Wisner Road should have been vacated “years ago,” but disagreed with preserving a public easement. That was discussed on Oct. 6 when Holden Arboretum representatives requested a language change in the resolution which was denied by trustees.

“We don’t see any public benefit,” Mr. Markowitz said.

Holden Arboretum’s police Chief Sean O’Neil mentioned multiple safety concerns that have occurred in the past few years, including a horseback rider being almost trampled by their own horse as well as graffiti with racist slurs found on the trees. The graffiti could not be cleaned properly due to the fear that the chemicals would destroy the tress, Chief O’Neil said.

Chardon resident John Mauder said last week that the public would benefit from a 30-foot-wide easement. He demonstrated how the value of his property has been impacted by sharing images taken that morning of fences with “Private Property” signs attached. A decision could be made at the next Commissioners meeting on Oct. 26 at 9:30 a.m. at the County Offices in Chardon.

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