MC Commissioners hold special drainage ditch petition meeting


By Eamon Baird

[email protected]

TROY — The Miami County Commissioners held a special public hearing regarding the Earhart Group Ditch Petition Project for Union Township on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

According to Resolution No. 23-11-1363, the Miami County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors accepted a petition on April 13, 2021, regarding drainage issues.

The resolution states:

“This area has been inundated with excessive surface and subsurface water and is a mix of residential, commercial, and agricultural cropland. The watershed area includes areas of sections 11, 12, 13, and 14 of Union Township. The proposed construction would commence at the Brush Creek, west of Rangeline Road, with the dredging of an open ditch and tile replacement of the existing Earhart Ditch (tile main) northwesterly to Markley Road.”

Commissioner Wade Westfall opened the meeting by reading the following statement:

“This hearing is allowing any owner to offer comments regarding estimated assessment and proposed improvements, the public meetings hearings, formal mailings, etc. had previously been completed by the Miami Soil Water Conservation District.

“The estimated assessment has been completed by the Miami County Engineer’s Office for the Miami Soil Water Conservancy District using the Miami County drainage benefit and assessment calculation.

“No decision will be made today. So additional comments and writing will be accepted by this office, the board of Miami County Commissioners up to the end of business on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023,” Westfall added.

Kreig Smail, district administrator and drainage technician for the Miami County Soil and Water Conservation District, addressed the commissioners about the timeline of the project.

“This project was originally filed as a group assistance request for assistance or otherwise known as a petition, in April 2019,” Smail said.

Smail added the soil and water district held three meetings in 2021, with the last one in September.

“That time, the board approved our office to move forward with the project and come up with an engineering plan, which was just submitted there in September of this year,” Smail said.

Union Township Trustees Dennis Albaugh and Philip Mote addressed the commissioners to state their opinion on the project’s proposal, requesting to reroute the piping, of their building located at 9497 Markley Road.

“So, we thought we’d bring here the existing proposal to do this, they kind of angles across our property east of our county of building, and it kind of dissects that entire five acres or so that’s out there. And then the right of way that would go along with this project would negate any opportunity for us to build or do anything with or sell that property because existing right away, nobody wants to buy that to get that angle on the field. So, our proposal is, rather than walking across that field on a diagonal, to go underneath the existing swale that we had built 10 years ago,” Albaugh said.

Tod Heslop and Shane Dancer, whose properties are on the south side of the proposed project on Markley Drive addressed the commissioners about the proposal.

“The assessment is just for my front yard, which is 2.7 acres. According to what the assessment is, that’s the benefit. There’s very little flooding in that area. If we get a tremendous rain, it may be there for a day or two, but other than that, it’s gone. It’s never stopped me from mowing my grass or anything like that. So, I don’t see the benefit to the $20,000 assessment to 2.7 acres,” Heslop said.

“With just me having that little bit going through my property, mine says $3,500. Again, I would have no benefit from this because I have no drainage issues at all on issues, and if I had drainage issues, I would have no problem with it,” Dancer said.

Smail added that this project would replace the clay tile originally installed in 1906.

“It’s a flat area; when areas flat water moves through that tile, very slow, the silt fills in, and it loses this capacity and no longer works. That’s the situation that exists out there,” Smail said.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Ted Mercer requested Smail to continue a dialogue with those affected financially or otherwise by the proposal.

“I’d like to reach out to Kreig to get back in touch with the people who spoke today. I’m not saying you’re going to change your decision but give them some justifications. But I think it’s important that you make contact with them again and try to get a solution maybe we all can live with,” Mercer said.

For more information on this project, visit the Miami County website,, and search Earhart Group drainage project.

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