County critical of sloppy work by developers
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 03 July 2014 09:00
The county engineer and a developer traded barbs with the latter eventually winning preliminary approval for a subdivision expansion Tuesday.
Engineer Ray Huber made a case for rejecting the third and fifth plats planned in the Riverbend neighborhood based on what he identified as a trend of sloppy work by engineers and developers.
Huber and John Musteric, chief deputy engineer, recommended against giving preliminary approval conditional on fixing a list of errors identified on what was submitted to the Wood County Planning Commission. They eventually came around to accept the conditional measure, but not before making pointed remarks about the plans submitted by George Oravecz for the Middleton Township subdivision off West River Road near Perrysburg.
The proposal was nearly stopped dead in its tracks when several commission members moved for denial early on. That was later withdrawn, but not before a lengthy discussion over how much of an opportunity developers should have to revise plans without coming back for another meeting.
The plan was withdrawn from the April agenda after substantial corrections were separately suggested by Planning Commission staff and the Engineer's Office.
Huber, who acknowledged he was wearing two hats as engineer and leader the meeting with chair Rob Black absent, pointed to glaring errors still remaining on the Riverbend plans distributed to commission members, such as the name of the subdivision not being listed.
"I don't even know the name of what's being put in front of me. ... That started a ball rolling for me that something was wrong," Huber said.
"Both John (Musteric) and I went through this thing independently and came up with a whole lot of things that are not right.
"It's not that we're trying to be nasty about it. It's not that we're trying to stop the development for crying out loud. We just want to make sure that the documentation that's recorded with Wood County, for now and (in) perpetuity, is correct."
Oravecz said the missing title was a simple mistake made by an employee, and that nearly all of the problems identified by the Engineer's Office were corrected on a version that was submitted after the deadline for commission consideration. He said postponement by the commission would effectively make a two-month delay as he would have to wait on a permit from the township as well.
Musteric acknowledged that the only significant matter to be resolved is a disagreement regarding the southern property line, which would not substantially alter any other components of the plan.
The explanation wasn't enough for Huber, who supported drawing a "line in the sand" to encourage more accurate submissions.
"I'm getting tired of holding the hand of consultants and being their checker for projects that they're supposed to know how to do," Huber said.
Planning Commission member Tony Allion, a former Wood County engineer, said conditional approval has been given when items to be corrected are minor, but that the current system may need to be changed.
"When they get to the point where the list is more than 10, you start wondering are they putting it together too fast," Allion said. "And by going ahead with that kind of system, we give them that option to say 'Let's do it at the last minute, and we'll get it approved tentatively and we'll make the changes after the fact.' That's what people are getting used to, and it's probably not a good system to continue."
Conditional approval ultimately won out, with Huber and Musteric agreeing to go through the plans with Oravecz to make sure they are up to snuff before being signed.
Musteric suggested making the project the last conditional approval to be given by the commission and adding to the recently-revised subdivision regulations a certain number of corrections that would be allowed.
"We're finding that people think they're entitled to have these approved conditionally every time, and I'm saying with these new rules and regulations coming out, something ought to be done," Musteric said.