July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Removal of trees in Medina Twp. draws residents’ ire

Some Medina Township residents are concerned about logging this week at 3337 Old Weymouth Road. (KIERA MANION-FISCHER / GAZETTE)

Some Medina Township residents are up in arms over logging on property at Old Weymouth and Remsen roads, and one man went so far as to vandalize a tractor, according to a police report.

Lawrence Puljic, 52, said his family used to own the property at 3337 Old Weymouth Road where the trees are being cut down, but he was forced to sell it in 2008. He now lives part time on Remsen Road.

“There’s old-growth forests,” he said. “The trees — some of them are well over 150 years old. The concern there is the soil erosion.”

According to a township police report, Puljic admitted to cutting the transmission’s wire harness on one of the logger’s John Deere tractors early Wednesday morning.

Puljic offered to pay $852 to fix the tractor, and John Yoder of B&M logging, the contractor doing the work, declined to press charges, the report said.

Puljic declined to discuss the report, except to say the issue was taken care of after he paid to fix the tractor.

The 18.3-acre property now is owned by Tim Meyers, a Strongsville resident and teacher of nursing at Kent State University. He described himself as a hunter, naturalist and conservationist.

Meyers said the loggers were doing “selective cutting” of trees this week and that the work would be completed by Monday.

The damage to the tractor and the rainy weather delayed work by several days, he said.

Meyers said he plans to plant new trees, including black walnut, cherry and maple.

“In five years, the neighbors will be pleasantly surprised at how much better it looks,” he said.

Now, he uses the property for hunting and allows people to walk there as well.

Meyers said his neighbors had valid concerns about flooding, but he didn’t think the logging would cause more of it.

“I can’t envision that removal of trees will change the flow of water,” he said. “If it rains enough, it’s going to flood.”

Eventually, he and his wife plan to build their dream home on the property, Meyers said.

Susan McKiernan, president of the Weymouth Preservation Society, lives across the street from the property.

While she disagreed with logging on the land, she said the damage done to the tractor was wrong.

“Who would do that? It’s not the answer to anything,” she said. “It just puts us in a position where we’re hamstrung right now, so it’s ridiculous.”

McKiernan said her problems with the logging centered on aesthetics and ecology, as well as the possibility of flooding.

“You should leave things beautiful for future generations,” she said.

Township Trustee Mike Todd called an emergency meeting of the board at 9 p.m. Tuesday to discuss residents’ concerns.

Todd said he had received several calls from residents in the area and thought it was necessary for trustees to discuss the issue immediately.

About a dozen residents attended the meeting, which lasted more than an hour. Some said they were upset about the aesthetics, the possibility of flooding and hunting on the property, Todd said.

As for the hunting, “As long as he does it safely, he’s allowed to do it,” Todd said.

Trustee Ken DeMichael said there was little trustees could do about a property owner logging on his own land.

“It is private property. If he wants to cut down the trees, he’s able to,” DeMichael said.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.