Board Chairman's Driveway Construction Leads to Lawsuit Threats from Neighbors
The chairman of the Highland Heights Planning and Zoning Commission responded to criticism from his neighbors that he built a driveway on city property to lead up to his property without proper permits. Steve Crawford addressed the issue at the regularly-scheduled city council meeting on Tuesday night after a resident addressed council last month about the issue.
Crawford admitted that he was guilty of not getting the proper permits to build the driveway connecting the end of Jillian Court to the back of his property on Knollwood Drive.
“Guilty as charged,” Crawford said to council. He added that he was not aware that he needed to acquire permits in order to build on city property.
Crawford stated that in April 2014, he acquired the property adjacent to his with the original purpose of preserving his property's back end. He later decided that he wanted to create a driveway from the end of Jillian Court, which currently dead-ends into an open area with the purpose that one day the city could extend the street.
In June of 2014, Crawford stated that he informed the residents on Jillian Court that he would be building the driveway.
However, according to the statement from a Jillian Court resident at the July council meeting, Crawford also cut down trees that were on someone else’s property, along with installing other landscaping without permits. Crawford then attempted to put down gravel, but was stopped because gravel roads are banned in Highland Heights.
According to Crawford, the neighbors on Jillian Court have threatened him with lawsuits. Since those threats, he has ceased the construction of the driveway until the issue is resolved. He hopes that it will be resolved without a lawsuit, but said that he will “be ready if I have to go to court.”
The River City News reported last month that a resident addressed the council with a concern about a member of the Planning and Zoning Committee was landscaping at the end of Jillian Court for his own personal use. The resident also stated that he believes the illegal construction of the driveway also devalues the houses around the area.
Crawford and the rest of city council, with the exception of Mayor Greg Meyers, who was not present at the meeting, recognized former Planning and Zoning Commission member Melanie Eifert for her 18 years of dedicated service to the City of Highland Heights.
Written by Clayton Castle, RCN contributor
Photo: The end of Jillian Drive, which is in the middle of a conflict between Planning and Zoning Chairman Steve Crawford and surrounding residents (RCN)