City Meets With Hilliard Area Residents Upset Over Easement - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

City Meets With Hilliard Area Residents Upset Over Easement

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HILLIARD, Ohio -

Hilliard area residents of Heritage Farms met with a representative from Columbus Recreation and Parks Thursday night to discuss their concerns and anger over an easement that impacts many of their backyards.

Earlier this month Darren Craddock talked with NBC4 about his concerns. Craddock said he is among roughly a dozen homeowners impacted by the conservation easement. Craddock's home sits adjacent to the Clover-Groff Natural Area on Roberts Road in the Hilliard area which is under Columbus Recreation and Parks.

The easement impacts the back 50 feet of residents' property which sits next to a creek that runs behind their homes.

Several neighbors told NBC4 they have been told they need to remove any play sets or sheds that fall within the easement zone as well as allow weeds to grow naturally and not enter the easement area after dusk.

"I have three little kids. It would be a safety issue primarily for me. Also, my kids would lose their swing set. It feels awful because when I moved into this neighborhood I had no idea anything like this was coming," Craddock said.

 

Jeananne Zink hosted the meeting in her backyard and says she also worries about her two young children ages one and four if weeds are allowed to grow on her yard. Zink fears bites from snakes and bugs.

Tina Mohn, Property Manager for Columbus Recreation and Parks attended the meeting to discuss neighbors' concerns.

Mohn pointed out that the easement is recorded on property records accessible to homeowners before they purchased their home.

Although the easement has not been enforced homeowners say since they have lived there for a decade or more.

According to Mohn the easement works to protect the creek behind Heritage Farms from pollution. It is one of many that runs off in to the Big Darby which has been the subject of a restoration project in recent years.

Mohn also said while she is sympathetic to neighbors that there is little her office can do to change the terms of the easement's enforcement.

"It would take a variance. It would take city council to change that. That is not something that we as a department want to necessarily undertake because it would affect the value of easements not just here," Mohn said.

One possible solution discussed was selling the portion of the yards impacted by the easement back to the city. However residents said that would not solve all their concerns.

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