A Bath committee will provide a public update on Monday on the state of Yellow Creek and the efforts to officially designate it as a Northeast Ohio watershed.
The 7 p.m. event will be televised live from the Trustees Meeting Room in the Bath Township Administration Building at 3864 West Bath Road.
The approximately 30 square mile basin of Yellow Creek, a tributary of the Cuyahoga River, is primarily located in Bath and includes parts of Copley Township, Richfield Township, Richfield Village, Fairlawn, Cuyahoga Falls , Akron, and Sharon and Granger from Medina County. communes.
Friends of Yellow Creek, a township committee chaired by Thomas Doran, will update the community on what has been done, what is planned and why there is a need to protect the creek neighborhood and its infrastructure.
The committee, originally named the Yellow Creek Watershed Committee, was established in January 2006 by a resolution of Bath as a citizens’ group. Its mission is to preserve, protect and improve the aesthetic, physical, chemical and biological integrity of the proposed watershed through monitoring, education, conservation and restoration.
Stephanie Deibel, Watershed Coordinator at the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District, will discuss the NPSIS (diffuse source implementation strategic plan), including what it is, why it matters, and how it affects Yellow Creek.
David Koontz of the Summit County Engineer’s Office will discuss the Summit County Surface Water Management District, in which Bath is currently the only participant. The group will expand to include the county’s nine townships and three villages, according to the Township of Bath.
Group created in 2016, the Yellow Creek Foundation, is leading efforts to create a Yellow Creek Watershed Conservation District.
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According to the foundation, as development intensifies, new highways and more people have moved to the Yellow Creek area, stormwater runoff has increased, leading to flooding, road scouring. , erosion of river banks and beds, and water pollution.
The foundation says a conservation district would help address these issues by working at the watershed level – with the two counties of Yellow Creek – as opposed to the township or county level.
Each property within the proposed watershed would be included in the district. There are around 9,600 plots in this area, according to the foundation.
The creation of the district has been in limbo for years, with the next step scheduled for the Summit and Medina County Moot Courts forming a Conservation Court, with a public hearing within 60 days of the tribunal’s establishment.
Summit County Common Plea Judge Kelly McLaughlin and Medina County Common Plea Judge Christopher Collier have been assigned to the court, but the court has yet to be established.
The Summit County Court said in a statement that there are several logistical and legal issues in creating a multi-judge, multi-county court. The public hearings are also expected to draw a large number of people, which would be difficult to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, the court said.
District plan struggles to convince municipalities neighboring the stream
Although the foundation collected more than the 500 required signatures from residents living in the proposed district on a petition, it lacks support from most municipalities in the Yellow Creek area.
Bath, Copley, Fairlawn, Richfield Village and the Summit County engineer oppose the plan, court records show Akron asking that he be removed from the proposed district. The group Citizens for Yellow Creek is also opposed to it.
Critics said the surface water management district already provides the same services as the conservation district. Summit County Council Approved creation of the SWMD in 2017 to mitigate runoff and flooding issues.
The program, which operates as a public service, is voluntary, so communities must join. The only one that has opted for now is Bath, township residents pay $ 4 per month, billed once a year.
Critics said they feared a lack of oversight, as the district would be overseen by an unelected board of directors, compared to the SWMD, which is overseen by elected officials. Critics also took issue with only needing 500 signatures to create the district, given that thousands of people live in the Yellow Creek area.