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ODNR, Park District discuss possible watercraft restrictions

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GUILFORD TWP. — More than 50 community members met to discuss the adoption of watercraft operating rules with representatives from the Medina County Park District and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday evening.

“The official public hearing is Nov. 27, then it goes to the statehouse in December,” Deb Green of ODNR said at Buffalo Creek Retreat.

Participants were invited to complete a form with their opinions on the proposed rules that will be included as for legislators.

“This (meeting) is in addition to that,” Green said. “I thought it was important to have a local opportunity for feedback and these formal forms will be looked at just as strongly as what is transcribed at the meeting.”

The proposal would establish a limit of 399 horsepower for “waters of the district,” meaning any water areas that are within Medina County Park District boundaries. It would also create periods when no-wake boat operating is required, prohibit swimming outside of designated boater swim areas, prohibit consuming alcohol and any device that would cause an individual to become airborne on the water.

The full text of 1501:47-7-21 is available at www.registerofohio.state.oh.us. Individuals that would like to submit comments regarding the rule can email them to watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us or mail to Medina Parks Rule Proposal, ODNR, 2045 Morse Road, C-3, Columbus, OH, 43229. Comments received by Nov. 30 will be included in the official record of the public hearing.

According to a press release from Medina County Park District spokesperson John Gladden, the administrative rule, titled 1501:47-7-21 would bring park district regulations in line with state regulations currently in place.

Jill Heck said her family has owned multiple properties near Chippewa Lake, which was purchased by the park district in 2007.

“I am disappointed that there wasn’t more public dialogue prior to these rules being presented, that there wasn’t involvement of the various communities,” she said.

Heck said she believes the residents that attended the meeting are reasonable people, and understand that there is a need to make the rules and regulations clear.

“To suggest that there is going to be a hearing in Columbus on Nov. 27 without any real dialogue (between residents and) the park district pursue, I think is unfortunate,” Heck said.

Medina County Park District Director Nate Eppink said he is available and will make time for anyone that would like to speak with him.

“We are members of the community, we all pay taxes, this is not Big Brother, this is not an unaccountable body that is doing something to you,” Eppink said.

Green said following the public meeting Nov. 27, the proposal will be sent to the statehouse in December where it will be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.


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