Licking County News

School land removed from legal gunfire zone

Resident's request for her property is pending

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Land belonging to the Licking Heights school district has been removed from Pataskala's firearms-discharge zone but resident Evangeline Fouras will have to wait a bit longer for a resolution of her request.

Pataskala City Council on Dec. 2 heard the first reading of ordinances to remove the properties from the discharge zone at the request of Fouras and Superintendent Philip Wagner.

On Dec. 16, City Council unanimously approved an amendment that removes 41 acres owned by the school district.

The land includes half the football stadium and one baseball field, according to district officials.

City Council unanimously voted to waive the third reading before approving the amendment.

City Councilman Bernard Brush said the agriculture committee, which met Dec. 16, recommended the school district property be removed.

He said previous legislation was meant to exclude all school property from the firearms-discharge zone.

However, Brush said, the committee is requesting more information on Fouras' request to take 175 acres northeast of Summit and Cable roads out of the discharge zone.

Brush said the committee asked the Pataskala Division of Police and Ohio Department of Natural Resources about incidents reported and is seeking further proof that Fouras can speak as owner of the entire property.

According to the Licking County Auditor's Office, part of the property is in a trust.

Auditor Michael Smith on Dec. 17 said he could not confirm that Fouras and her family have majority ownership of the property.

Recorder Bryan Long on Dec. 18 said more than 160 acres were transferred into a trust in 1996. Two-thirds of the property went to George T. Tsakumis and the rest went to Fouras.

Fouras said Tsakumis is her late husband's godson.

Fouras said Tsakumis requested to be taken out of the trust, but Long said no documentation shows the trust had been changed.

Fouras said documentation was filed in probate court two years ago when Tsakumis asked to be removed, but ThisWeek was unable to obtain a copy of the document before press time.

Tsakumis, who lives in the state of Delaware, also could not be reached for comment.

Smith said another trustee listed on the property's tax bill is Marc Schare of Dublin. Schare did not return phone calls to ThisWeek.

City Councilman Mike Fox requested City Council table the legislation pending further review but his motion died as Dan Hayes, Bryan Lenzo, Merissa McKinstry and Pat Sagar voted against it. The members of the agriculture committee -- Brush, Mike Compton and Fox -- voted in favor.

Hayes requested City Council waive third reading of the legislation, which died in a 6-1 vote.

Lenzo said though he is in favor of the ordinance, he didn't believe there were enough votes to pass it and it deserves a third reading because of the controversy surrounding it.

Several residents spoke about the legislation.

Steven Dunham of Havens Corners Road asked City Council members to voice their opinions, saying he'd heard no new arguments in favor of the legislation.

Ron Zaleski of Cable Road said because the use of the Fouras property has not changed, it should not be removed from the discharge zone.

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