Trash, fence complaints handled

Recently a property owner called to complain about the maintenance of sections of fence in the right of way of a local municipality. He also complained about the presence of a lot of trash in the right of way. The owner was also displeased that a new fence had been relocated from the position of the former fence. The new position of the fence opened access for drivers to cut across his property to avoid a red light at the corner.

The Ombudsman visited the sites of the various complaints to directly observe the fences and the trash. The Ombudsman saw broken pieces of fence and trash in the right of way and on the other side of the fence which was private property. The Ombudsman also observed the location where drivers who did not want to stop at the red light could cut across behind a business to access the cross street.

The Ombudsman contacted the municipality concerning the trash and the fences, and staff researched the right of ways and the responsibilities for the broken fence. The municipality determined that it did have responsibility for the repairs to the fence and for the trash in the right of way. Private property owners have responsibility for the trash on their property. The Ohio Department of Transportation was responsible for the re-positioning of the fence that permitted the circumvention of the stop light.

The Ombudsman contacted staff at the Ohio Department of Transportation, who explained that the fence needed to be replaced. The decision regarding the new position of the fence was made for safety reasons. The fence was further from the road so that if a driver lost control of their vehicle there was less chance of running into a fence.

The municipality began work to repair the broken fence and to clean up the trash. The property owner was reminded that the trash on his property was his responsibility. The owner was also informed of the reason the fence was repositioned, and the suggestion was made that a barricade of some form be erected to prevent the cutting across private property to avoid a red light.

THE OMBUDSMAN column, a production of the Joint Office of Citizens' Complaints, summarizes selected problems that citizens have had with government and social services, utilities, schools and nursing homes in the Dayton area. Contact the Ombudsman by writing to 11 West Monument Avenue, Suite 606, Dayton 45402, or telephone (937) 223-4613, or by electronic mail at or our website at

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