Maintenance an issueIn an effort to stay ahead, Stark County officials are working on a revised policy for subdivision roads.
In an effort to stay ahead, Stark County officials are working on a revised policy for subdivision roads.
Upkeep of subdivision roads — even when the county has accepted them into its road system — is not the responsibility of the county, said Tom Henning, Stark County state’s attorney.
“What we generally limit subdivision work to is snow clearing, unless it’s a part of a specific plan for repair or something like that,” he said.
There are about 120 subdivisions in the county, Commissioner Pete Kuntz said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“They’re popping up all over the place,” said Al Heiser, Stark County road superintendent.
“I’m not against development at all,” Heiser said. “What I am against is coming into a subdivision and putting substandard streets in and then people buy all these houses and pretty soon the streets are in tough shape.”
The existing subdivision policy, which was adopted in 2006, is too vague, Heiser said.
“We’re just trying to get a standard set so everybody is on the same page,” he added.
The road department patches holes, seals cracks and sometimes does more extensive work but other county roads take priority, Heiser said.
“Whoever develops the subdivisions is totally responsible for all the streets,” he said.
Many subdivision roads are rapidly deteriorating and those living next to them may have to foot the bill, Henning said.
“In cases where we’re talking about working in these special little areas, we’re going to have to set it up so that the cost falls to those individual benefactors and not spread over the county as a whole, because it’s not the county as a whole that benefits,” Henning said.
Many subdivisions that have been created in recent years haven’t been accepted into the county road system and have been providing their own maintenance, Heiser said.
The existing subdivision policy contains language such as “streets and roads within a subdivision shall be wide enough to provide for traffic and parking on both sides.”
Heiser said a new policy should say exactly how wide the roads should be, how deep ditches should be and how far back trees need to be from the road, among several other specifications.
Many subdivision roads don’t have deep enough ditches, or don’t have ditches at all, Heiser said. Also, drainage pipes running under driveways are often too narrow and don’t facilitate proper draining.
Properly constructed roads should slow down the rate of deterioration and make maintenance easier and potentially cheaper in the long run, Heiser said.