The intersection at Road 5 and SR12 was part of the widening project that occurred in 2013. The Third Appellate District Court of Appeals of Ohio has ruled the Putnam County Commissioners erred when proceeding to file property appropriations and widening the road. (File photo)
The intersection at Road 5 and SR12 was part of the widening project that occurred in 2013. The Third Appellate District Court of Appeals of Ohio has ruled the Putnam County Commissioners erred when proceeding to file property appropriations and widening the road. (File photo)

OTTAWA — The Third Appellate District Court of Appeals of Ohio has overturned a ruling by the Putnam County Court of Common Pleas surrounding the widening of Road 5.

The appeal was filed by numerous property owners along Road 5 against the Putnam County Board of Commissioners. The property owners had sought an injunction against the widening of the road, stating the commissioners had erred in procedures required before widening the road and had also violated sunshine laws.

The Putnam County Common Pleas Court had ruled against an injunction to stop work in February 2013, while the court proceedings were underway. This was issued as a final appealable entry. Subsequently, the widening of Road 5 proceeded.

OVERSET FOLLOWS:In their lawsuit against the commissioners the property owners sought an injunction against the widening of the road claiming open meeting violations had occurred.

The Putnam County Common Pleas Court ruled that the commissioners policies for providing notice on regular meetings and special meetings complied with ORC 121.22.

The property owners also alleged that the defendants failed to pass any resolution to initiate the improvement of County Road 5 and that their public right to participate in the process was deprived.

Putnam County Common Pleas Court found the commissioners had passed the resolutions on July 12, 2012 and July 17, 2012, regarding the widening. The local court also found the resolutions were “openly enacted and enactment procedures provided Plaintiffs (property owners), and their counsel an opportunity to fully participate.”

In their ruling the District Court of Appeals stated the trial court had erred in ignoring uncontroverted violations of Ohio Sunshine Law. They also stated the local court erred in failing to find irreparable harm and prejudice to the appellants. They also found four other errors in the local court including that the commissioners had validly authorized the widening of County Road 5.

The ruling stated the white board method of meeting notifications could not be easily read. They also found that requests for notifications of meetings by individuals who had requested them not been done.

The Court of Appeals issued their ruling this Monday, June 23.

In their finding the appeals court stated that a review of the record indicates that the Putnam County Commissioners had not proceeded in the statutory manner for Road 5 project and had begun appropriating property several months before passing the resolution to widen the road.

The ruling also stated that since the commissioners had failed to comply with authorizing the widening of the County Road 5 it raises the problem of what the proper remedy is, since the injunction was denied and the road has already been widening.

“Clearly the question of an injunction to prohibit the widening of County Road 5 is now moot and no one has requested that the road be returned to its original width,” the ruling stated. “This issue must be remanded to the trial court for a determination of the appropriate remedy.
story created on Tuesday 6/24/2014 at 12:38:58 pm by Nancy Kline
story modified on Tuesday 6/24/2014 at 3:48:10 pm by Kirk Dougal