A criminal charge has been dismissed against 73-year-old York Township resident Donald Borling, who reportedly was involved in a dispute with land surveyors working on behalf of the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline.
Borling pleaded not guilty to a menacing charge, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, on Sept. 29. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Special prosecutor Matthew Ameer declined to comment Monday on the decision by Medina Municipal Court Judge Dale H. Chase to dismiss the case.
Borling’s attorney, David Sheldon, said the case was too weak to prosecute.
“I don’t think the state felt it could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Borling’s statements rose to the level of menacing,” he said.
According to a court summons, two surveyors and an off-duty law enforcement officer came to Borling’s door on Spieth Road at 9:45 a.m. Sept. 23. Borling said at the time he told them they were not permitted access to his property.
Borling said he and his wife, Adele, then “went into town” for several hours. On their way home, Borling said he and his wife noticed five cars on Station Road, near Spieth Road.
That is when the surveyors alleged that Borling threatened them, according to Borling.
The issue of surveyors coming onto private property for the proposed $2 billion energy pipeline has been in dispute in Medina County Common Pleas Court for more than a year.
The pipeline project would transport natural gas from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio along a route through Medina County, into northwest Ohio and Michigan and to a hub in Canada. NEXUS is awaiting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for construction to proceed and to begin in the first quarter of 2017.
Borling and a group of landowners in the county have protested that surveyors are not legally entitled to come onto private property. However, last October, Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier ruled that surveyors could access private property. Residents are appealing the ruling.
Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or email@example.com.