MILLERSBURG -- After reviewing pictures of the property that was illegally accessed to trim trees and shrubs, Millersburg Council members decided to take a wait-and-see approach on compensating East Jones Street resident Frank Miller for his hacked-up bushes, after he brought a complaint to council.
Council member Kelly Hoffee said she believes the berry bushes in question are hearty shrubs that will come back strong in the summer.
"I have some knowledge of berry bushes," Hoffee said. "A lot of the canes of the raspberry bushes are actually taller than they recommend to actually cut them back."
"Berry bushes are hardy," she continued. "They are really hardy and most of the time when trimmed, they come back stronger with more berries than they had before. My concern is, it's February. Those plants are dormant. We don't really know if they're going to come back. We probably won't know until the summer."
She also pointed out that the placement of the bushes in the culvert wasn't the ideal location.
"I agree with you as far as they should not have come onto your property without your permission, and I believe in the future that definitely won't happen," Hoffee said. "But my initial reaction is no compensation, because your berry bushes may come back stronger than before."
Council member Brent Hofstetter agreed.
"I have looked at the auditor's website, and looked at the property line, and it looks to be real close to the wall of your house," Hofstetter said. "And as I stood there at the intersection and looked, it looked to me that they cleared it pretty much right on that line. That mulberry tree may be a little off the property line, but the stuff they did there, and a good chunk of your driveway is in the right-of-way as well.
"Should they have asked permission to come onto your property, it would've been nice if they had," Hofstetter continued. "But I think you've got an apology from (Village Administrator Nate) Troyer, and you got one at last meeting, too. I guess I would vote against compensation, too. They're wild plants that may or may not be on your property. If you had planted them, it would be different. In my opinion, I would vote for no compensation."
Council President Ruby Baird said she believes the property was on the right of way.
Miller argued that the way they chopped on his Mulberry tree, he doubts it will ever come back, and he feels they went beyond the property line.
"That may be so," Hoffee said. "But those bushes multiply like crazy, and I think you should give it time to see if you are going to get more bushes. I think your raspberries will be just fine. But that's just my opinion."
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.