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Ruling Says Citizens Can't Interfere With City-Owned Waterfront Property

A Franklin County judge says the cities of Columbus, Akron and Barberton may manage properties they own along their reservoirs. Jim Letizia reports.  

The judge on February 14 ruled Ohio's home rule provision makes unconstititional a 2015 state budget amendment allowing owners of neighboring properties to manage them. The amendment challenged by the three cities in a lawsuit said neighbors could cut grass, remove trees, weeds and other vegitation from municipally-owned properties. The lands serve as buffer zones that are supposed to help keep contaminants from entering the waters - contaminants such as nitrates and the phosphorous that causes algae blooms.

The judge says the amendment blocks cities from taking any action against the private landowners if they make changes to municipal properties in order to create access paths to private docks, improve their views or otherwise beautify the buffers. The judge also said the amendment harms the cities ability to manage their utilities.

900 people own properties near buffers at Columbus' Griggs, Hoover and O'Shaughnessy reservoirs. It's not clear if the state plans to appeal. 

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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