Chapter 5571: BOARD OF TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES

5571.01 Road improvements.

(A) A board of township trustees may construct, reconstruct, resurface, or improve any public road or part thereof under its jurisdiction, or any county road, intercounty highway, or state highway within its township. In the case of a county road, the plans and specifications for the proposed improvement first shall be submitted to the board of county commissioners of the county and receive its approval. In the case of an intercounty or state highway, the plans and specifications first shall be submitted to the director of transportation and receive the director's approval. The board of township trustees may widen, straighten, or change the direction of any part of a road in connection with the proceedings for its improvement.

(B) The board of township trustees may construct, improve, maintain, or repair the berm of any road under its jurisdiction, in order to provide a hard surface or other improved approach to rural mail boxes located on public highways.

(C) A board of township trustees, in conformity with the manual and uniform system of traffic control devices adopted under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code, may erect and maintain at intersecting roads, at least one of which is a township road, suitable signposts showing the names and numbers of the roads. The cost of the signs shall be paid from the township road fund.

(D) Subject to division (F) of this section, a board of township trustees, in conformity with the manual and uniform system of traffic control devices adopted under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code, may erect and maintain at intersecting roads, at least one of which is a township road, suitable signposts showing the direction and distance to any nearby municipal corporation. The costs of the signs shall be paid from the township road fund.

(E) Subject to divisions (F) and (G) of this section, a board of township trustees may purchase or lease and erect and maintain at intersecting roads, at least one of which is a township road, suitable traffic control devices and traffic control signals. The traffic control devices and traffic control signals and their placement and maintenance shall conform with the manual and specifications adopted under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code. In purchasing or leasing and erecting and maintaining the traffic control devices and traffic control signals, the board may expend any moneys that are available to it that legally may be expended for that purpose.

(F) If one of the intersecting highways as provided in divisions (D) and (E) of this section is a state highway, both of the following apply:

(1) No signpost showing the direction and distance to any nearby municipal corporation shall be placed at or near the intersection, and no traffic control device or traffic control signal shall be erected at the intersection, without prior permission of the director as required by section 4511.10 of the Revised Code.

(2) The department of transportation shall maintain any traffic control signal erected by the board of township trustees at that intersection.

(G) If one of the intersecting roads as provided in division (E) of this section is a county road, a board of township trustees shall not erect a traffic control device or traffic control signal at the intersection without prior permission of the county engineer of the county in which the intersection is located.

(H) No contract for the construction or repair of a bridge, the entire cost of which construction or repair exceeds fifty thousand dollars, shall be entered into by the township unless the plans are first approved by the director.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.01

Effective Date: 09-24-1999

5571.011 Relocating roads.

If a person through whose land a public road has been established which is under the jurisdiction of a board of township trustees, desires to turn or change or relocate such road or any part thereof through any part of the person's land, the person may file a petition with such board of township trustees setting forth briefly the particular change desired. Upon receipt of such petition, the board of township trustees shall give notice by publication once, not later than two weeks prior to the date which such board shall fix for a hearing on such petition, in a newspaper of general circulation in said township, stating that such petition has been filed and setting forth the change desired in such road and the date and place of such hearing.

Upon receipt of such a petition the board of township trustees shall cause a competent engineer to make a survey of the ground over which the road is proposed to be changed, and to make a report in writing, together with a plat and survey of the proposed change and the engineer's opinion as to its advantage or disadvantage. The report of such engineer shall be filed with the board prior to the hearing of such petition.

At the hearing had on the petition the board of township trustees may hear evidence for or against changing the road, and if the board is satisfied that the proposed change will not cause serious injury or disadvantage to the public, it may make a finding of such fact in its journal and authorize the petitioner to change such road in conformity with the prayer of the petition. The board may grant the change as prayed for in the petition, or it may order such change of the route of such road as will, in its judgment, be for the best interest of the public.

Upon receiving satisfactory evidence that the road has been changed as authorized by it, and opened to the legal width and improved as required by it, the board of township trustees shall declare such new road a public highway and cause a record thereof to be made and at the same time vacate so much of the old road as is rendered unnecessary by the new road. The person petitioning for such change shall in all cases pay all costs and expenses in connection with the proceeding, as found and determined by the board, and the expense of making such change, including the cost of relocation of any conduits, cables, wires, towers, poles or other equipment or appliances of any public utility, located on, over or under such road. The petitioner shall, on the filing of the petition for such change, give bond to the satisfaction of the board in such amount as it determines to secure payment of the costs of the proceeding and to cover the expense of making the change asked for by the petition.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.011

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 08-01-1955

5571.02 Control and maintenance of township roads.

The board of township trustees shall have control of the township roads of its township and, except for those township roads the board places on nonmaintained status pursuant to section 5571.20 of the Revised Code, shall keep them in good repair. The board of township trustees , with the approval of the board of county commissioners or the director of transportation, may maintain or repair a county road, or intercounty highway, or state highway within the limits of its township.

In the maintenance and repair of roads, the board of township trustees may proceed in any of the following methods:

(A) It may designate one of its number to have charge of the maintenance and repair of roads within the township.

(B) It may divide the township into three road districts, in which event each trustee shall have charge of the maintenance and repair of roads within one of those districts.

(C) It may appoint some competent person, not a member of the board of township trustees, to have charge of maintenance and repair of roads within the township, who shall be known as "township highway superintendent" and shall serve at the pleasure of the board .

The method to be followed in each township shall be determined by the board of township trustees by resolution entered on its records.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.02

Effective Date: 09-28-1973; 06-10-2004

5571.03 Compensation of trustees.

When the board of township trustees determines to proceed in the method provided by division (A) or (B) of section 5571.02 of the Revised Code, the trustee designated to have charge of the maintenance and repair of roads and culverts within the township, or within a road district thereof, shall receive the compensation provided by section 505.24 of the Revised Code for each day of service in the discharge of such duties, but the total compensation of any trustee to be paid from the treasury under this section and all other sections of the Revised Code shall not exceed the maximum provided by such section in any year.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.03

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5571.04 Compensation of superintendent.

When the board of township trustees determines to proceed as provided in division (C) of section 5571.02 of the Revised Code and appoints a highway superintendent, the superintendent shall, before entering upon the discharge of the official duties of superintendent, give bond to the state, for the use of the township, in the sum of two thousand dollars, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the official duties of superintendent. The bond shall be approved by the board of township trustees and filed with the township fiscal officer. The board of township trustees shall fix the compensation of the superintendent, which compensation shall be paid from the township road fund. The compensation and all proper and necessary expenses, when approved by the board of township trustees, shall be paid by the township fiscal officer upon the fiscal officer's warrant.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.04

Effective Date: 07-21-1976; 12-20-2005

5571.05 Supervision of maintenance and repair of township roads.

In the maintenance and repair of roads, the board of township trustees and any township highway superintendent appointed by it, shall be subject to the general supervision and direction of the county engineer. Such board of township trustees shall follow the direction of the engineer as to methods to be followed in making repairs.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.05

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5571.06 Persons not to be counted either for or against the improvement.

In determining whether the required number of persons, necessary to give the board of township trustees jurisdiction, have signed the petition asking for a road improvement, the following persons shall not be counted either for or against the improvement:

(A) Resident landowners whose only real estate within the legal assessment distance of such road is located in a municipal corporation;

(B) Owners of life and leasehold estates;

(C) Minors and other persons under legal disability, unless represented by legal guardians, in which case the action of the guardian shall be binding upon such persons;

(D) Lot or landowners who are not otherwise taxed than to raise the proportion of the costs of such improvement, to be paid by the township as a whole.

All tenants in common of any undivided estate, resident within the county, shall be counted as a unit, and if all not united, either for or against the improvement, none shall be counted in determining whether the requisite number of persons have signed such petition.

No person signing a petition shall be permitted to withdraw therefrom unless the board finds that there was fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining his signature.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.06

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5571.07 Petition by landowners - duties of board of township trustees.

When a petition, signed by at least fifty-one per cent of the land owners or lot owners, residents of the county, who are to be specifically taxed or assessed for such improvement as provided in this section, or signed by the owner of the right to mine coal lying under or adjacent to the proposed improvement, is presented to the board of township trustees asking for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of any public road or part thereof, the board shall, within thirty days after such petition is presented, go upon the line of the proposed improvement and, after viewing it, determine whether the public convenience and welfare require that such improvement be made. If the board determines to proceed with the improvement, it shall so declare by appropriate resolution, which resolution shall set forth the general route and termini of the improvement and the general manner in which such road is to be improved and such other information as the board deems necessary. Such resolution may also provide for the establishment of an appropriate detour route or for the temporary closing of the road to be improved. The petition shall state the method of paying the compensation, damages, and costs of the improvement desired by the petitioners, who may request that the same be apportioned and paid in any one of the methods provided by section 5573.07 of the Revised Code, provided, that if a petition signed by the owner of the right to mine coal lying under or adjacent to the proposed improvement, is filed with a board of township trustees as provided in this section, such petitioner shall pay the costs and expenses incurred by such board in connection with the proceedings initiated by such petition, and the costs and expenses of making such improvement including compensation and damages, and including the cost of relocation of any conduits, cables, wires, towers, poles, or other equipment or appliances of any public utility, located on, over, or under the portion of the road affected by such improvement, and, on demand by the board, shall give bond to the satisfaction of the board in such amount as the board determines, to secure the payment of all such costs and expenses.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.07

Effective Date: 01-10-1961

5571.08 Removal of obstructions.

Except as provided in section 5571.20 of the Revised Code, the board of township trustees shall cause all the township roads within the township to be kept free from obstruction by snow. The cost and expense thereof shall be paid from the road funds of the township or from the funds allocated to the township by section 5735.27 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.08

Effective Date: 10-02-1953; 06-10-2004

5571.09 Suits by board of township trustees.

The board of township trustees may bring and maintain all suits involving an injury to any township road, ditch, drain, or watercourse under the jurisdiction of such board and for the prevention of injury thereto. In case such road, ditch, drain, or watercourse is under the jurisdiction of two or more boards of township trustees, such joint board may bring and maintain such action. Such board or joint board may recover, by suit or otherwise, any real estate or interest therein, legal or equitable, belonging to the township, or any money or other property due the township.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.09

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5571.10 Landscape and beautification projects.

As part of improving or maintaining any road, upon petition or otherwise, the board of township trustees may provide for landscape and beautification projects along the road. Such projects may include planting trees or other plants and installing and maintaining decorative pathways, walls, signage, fencing, banners, fountains, and other similar features.

In providing for the projects, the board shall proceed in accordance with Chapter 5575. of the Revised Code.

The cost of the projects may be paid by any of the methods provided in section 5573.07 of the Revised Code, as determined by the board by resolution. If the board finds that the projects will result in general as well as special benefits, the portion of the cost that is found to represent the value of the general benefit may be paid from the general fund of the township treasury.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.10

Effective Date: 10-08-2001

5571.11 Watering places on public highways.

The board of township trustees may provide and, when provided, shall maintain suitable watering places for procuring water for persons and animals on the public highways in its township, and the boards of two or more townships may join in providing and maintaining such watering place, where it is located on or near the township line, or on a road leading from one township into another. The board may, by resolution, abandon any such watering places when the necessity therefor ceases to exist.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.11

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5571.12 Dragging graveled and unimproved roads semiannually.

Except as provided in section 5571.20 of the Revised Code, the board of township trustees shall cause the graveled and unimproved public roads of the township to be dragged. At the beginning of each fiscal half year, the board, before making any other appropriations from the township road fund, shall appropriate and set aside a sum sufficient to meet the expense of dragging the graveled and unimproved public roads of the township during the ensuing six months. That sum shall not be used for any purpose other than that for which it was appropriated.

The board from time to time shall designate the roads to be dragged and furnish suitable road drags, hones, scrapers, or other tools, which shall be paid for out of the road fund. The work of dragging the graveled and unimproved public roads of the township, or of any road district of the township, shall be done under the supervision of one of the township trustees or the township highway superintendent designated to have charge of the maintenance and repair of roads as provided in section 5571.02 of the Revised Code. That trustee or superintendent shall employ the necessary labor and teams at a price to be fixed by the board. Bills for dragging shall be paid from the dragging fund upon the order of the board.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.12

Effective Date: 10-01-1953; 06-10-2004

5571.13 [Repealed].

Cite as R.C. § 5571.13

Effective Date: 10-01-1953; 09-29-2005

5571.14 Object bounding township road may be declared public nuisance.

(A) A board of township trustees or township highway superintendent may determine that an object bounding any township road and located wholly or in part on the land belonging to the road interferes with snow or ice removal from, the maintenance of, or the proper grading, draining, or dragging of the road, causes the drifting of snow on the road, or in any other manner obstructs or endangers the public travel of the road. The board or superintendent then may declare the object to be a public nuisance and order the owner, agent, or occupant of the land on or bordering upon which the object is maintained to remove it within thirty days. If that person refuses or neglects to comply with the order, the board or superintendent shall have the object removed. The expense incurred in that removal shall be certified to the county auditor and entered on the tax duplicate against that land, to be collected in the same manner as other taxes.

(B)

(1) The authority granted in this section is in addition to the authority granted in section 5543.14 of the Revised Code to remove vegetation and the authority granted in section 5547.03 of the Revised Code to remove objects or structures constituting obstructions.

(2) The authority granted in this section applies to land belonging to a township road whether owned in fee simple or by easement.

(3) Objects that may be declared to be a public nuisance under this section include a fence, post, pole, athletic or recreational apparatus, rock, or berm, any vegetation, or any other object identified by the board or superintendent as interfering with or obstructing the township road under division (A) of this section.

(C) The authority granted in this section does not apply to an object that is lawfully entitled to be maintained on land belonging to a township road pursuant to a franchise or other grant of public authority.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.14

Effective Date: 03-31-2003

5571.15 Board of township trustees may improve roads without petition.

(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the board of township trustees, without the presentation of a petition, may take the necessary steps to construct, reconstruct, resurface, or improve a public road or part thereof, upon the passage of a resolution by unanimous vote declaring the necessity for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement. The cost thereof may be paid by any of the methods provided in section 5573.07 of the Revised Code, as determined by the board in the resolution.

(B) If the primary reason for the reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of a public road or part thereof is to improve the drainage of water from the surface of the road, as declared by the resolution, and there is no presentation of a petition, the board may proceed upon the passage of the resolution by majority vote. The cost in such case may be paid by either of the methods provided in division (B) of section 5573.07 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.15

Effective Date: 03-12-2001

5571.16 Obtaining permit before installing driveway culvert or making excavation in township highway or highway right-of-way.

The board of township trustees, by resolution, may require any person to obtain a permit before installing a driveway culvert or making any excavation in a township highway or highway right-of-way within its jurisdiction, except an excavation to repair, rehabilitate, or replace a pole already installed for the purpose of providing electric or telecommunications service. The board, as a condition to the granting of the permit, may do any of the following:

(A) Require the applicant to submit plans indicating the location, size, type, and duration of the culvert or excavation contemplated;

(B) Specify methods of excavation, refilling, and resurfacing to be followed;

(C) Require the use of warning devices it considers necessary to protect travelers on the highway;

(D) Require the applicant to indemnify the township against liability or damage as the result of the installation of the culvert or as a result of the excavation;

(E) Require the applicant to post a deposit or bond, with sureties to the satisfaction of the board, conditioned upon the performance of all conditions in the permit.

Applications for permits under this section shall be made to the township fiscal officer upon forms to be furnished by the board. Applications, including, but not limited to, a single application for an excavation project to install six or more poles for the purpose of providing electric or telecommunications service or to install a pole associated with underground electric or telecommunications service, shall be accompanied by a fee of fifty dollars per application, which fee shall be returned to the applicant if the application is denied. Except as otherwise provided in this section, no application or fee shall be required for an excavation project to install five or fewer poles for the purpose of providing electric or telecommunications service, but the person making that excavation shall provide verifiable notice of the excavation to the township clerk at least three business days prior to the date of the excavation.

No person shall install a driveway culvert or make an excavation in any township highway or highway right-of-way in violation of any resolution adopted pursuant to this section, except that, in the case of an emergency requiring immediate action to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, an excavation may be made without first obtaining a permit, if an application is made at the earliest possible opportunity.

As used in this section, "person" has the same meaning as in section 1.59 of the Revised Code, and "right-of-way" has the same meaning as in division (UU)(2) of section 4511.01 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.16

Effective Date: 03-31-2003; 12-20-2005

5571.17 [Repealed].

Cite as R.C. § 5571.17

Effective Date: 09-24-1999

5571.20 Township trustees may place graveled or unimproved road in nonmaintained status.

(A) Except as otherwise provided in division (D) of this section, a board of township trustees by resolution may place a graveled or unimproved township road under its jurisdiction that is not passable year-round or any portion of such a road on nonmaintained status. Prior to adopting a resolution that places a road on nonmaintained status, the board shall hold at least two public hearings to allow for public comment on the proposed resolution. The board, at special or regular meetings, shall publicize the times and places of the hearings by causing a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the road is located at least ten days prior to the date of the first meeting. If the township maintains a web site on the internet, the same notice also shall be posted on the web site at least ten days prior to the date of the first meeting. Upon adoption of such a resolution, the board is not required to cause the road to be dragged at any time, or to cut, destroy, or remove any brush, weeds, briers, bushes, or thistles upon or along the road, or to remove snow from the road, or to maintain or repair the road in any manner. The board, in its discretion, may cause any of these actions to be performed on or to a road that it has placed on nonmaintained status.

(B) Prior to adopting a resolution under division (A) of this section, the board shall request the county engineer to issue an advisory opinion regarding the consequences of placing the road on nonmaintained status, including any impact such action would have on adjoining property owners. A board may adopt a resolution under division (A) of this section only after the county engineer issues the advisory opinion and the county engineer, in the advisory opinion, finds that placing the road on nonmaintained status will not unduly adversely affect the flow of motor vehicle traffic on that road or on any adjacent road.

(C)

(1) A board may terminate the nonmaintained status of a township road by adopting a resolution to that effect. If the owner of land adjoining a road that has been placed on nonmaintained status requests the board to terminate the nonmaintained status of the road, the board, in its resolution that terminates that nonmaintained status, may require the owner to pay the costs of upgrading the road to locally adopted township standards.

(2) If the owner of land adjoining a road that has been placed on nonmaintained status upgrades the road to the standards most recently certified by the county engineer for the road, the board shall terminate the nonmaintained status of the road and then shall maintain and repair the road according to such standards. However, division (C)(2) of this section does not apply to a road or portion of a road that, prior to being placed on nonmaintained status, was not certified by the board of township trustees to the director of transportation in accordance with division (E) of section 4501.04 of the Revised Code as mileage in the township used by and maintained for the public.

(3) The owner of land adjoining a road that was placed on nonmaintained status prior to April 7, 2009, or land owner of land whose only access to such a road is by easement may petition the board for review of the nonmaintained status of the road if the road provides the exclusive means for obtaining access to the land. Upon receipt of a petition, the board shall review the status of the road and shall terminate the nonmaintained status if the board finds that the road provides such exclusive means for obtaining access to the land. After completing the review, the board shall adopt a resolution either retaining or terminating the nonmaintained status of the road. If the board terminates the nonmaintained status of a road under division (C)(3) of this section, the board shall not require the owner to pay the costs of upgrading, maintaining, or repairing the road. However, division (C)(3) of this section does not apply to a road or portion of a road that, prior to being placed on nonmaintained status, was not certified by the board of township trustees to the director in accordance with division (E) of section 4501.04 of the Revised Code as mileage in the township used by and maintained for the public.

(D) A graveled or unimproved road may not be placed on nonmaintained status if the road is the exclusive means for obtaining access to land that adjoins that road and the road is passable year-round.

(E) For purposes of this section, a road is passable year-round if a four-wheeled, two-wheel drive passenger motor vehicle can be driven on the road year-round, apart from seasonal conditions caused by weather-related events.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.20

Amended by 128th General Assemblych.28, HB 2, §101.01, eff. 7/1/2009.

Effective Date: 06-10-2004

5571.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates section 5571.16 of the Revised Code shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

Cite as R.C. § 5571.99

Effective Date: 08-16-1955