Licking County News

Firearms-discharge zone

Council tables request to remove land

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Pataskala City Council on Jan. 6 tabled legislation to remove 175 acres from the city's firearms-discharge zone after months of reviewing the request from resident Evangeline Fouras.

City Council has asked Fouras to provide more information on the property's ownership at a future meeting.

Fouras said she made the request because hunting and trespassing violations have occurred and the property is adjacent to land owned by the Licking Heights school district.

She said part of the property is in a trust under her children's control.

However, Bernard Brush on Jan. 6 presented City Council with documentation from Licking County that conflicted with Fouras' assertion that her family controls all 175 acres. Brush, a former City Council member who lost his re-election bid last November, served on the agriculture committee that initially heard Fouras' complaints.

According to the Licking County Auditor's Office, part of the property is in a trust but county officials cannot confirm that Fouras and her family have majority ownership of the property, Brush said.

Licking County Recorder Bryan Long on Dec. 18 said more than 160 acres were transferred into a trust in 1996.

The current trustee is Marc Schare of Dublin. Licking County probate court records confirm he was appointed as trustee of the Alexios G. Fouras testamentary trust Dec. 30, 2011.

"The position of the trust is neutral on the question," Schare said Jan. 9. "So if Evangeline wishes for the property to be taken out of the discharge zone, I'm OK with that, and if (Pataskala) City Council wants to leave it in the discharge zone, I'm OK with that, too."

According to the will of Alexios G. Fouras, which established the trust, the trustee shall "manage, control, improve and repair real and personal property of the trust estate."

The will created the trust in the names of the three Fouras children -- Christos, Andrew and Katherine -- who had not reached age 30 by the time of Alexios Fouras' death.

Several residents have spoken against removing the property from the discharge zone.

Ron Zyleski of Cable Road said City Council needs to consider how removing the property would cause the owner to give up some property rights, calling it a dangerous precedent.

Steven Dunham of Havens Corners Road again asked City Council members to state their position on the issue because it has been controversial.

Councilman Mike Fox said the city typically removes properties from the discharge zone as they develop and no longer have agricultural uses.

Hunting and recreational gunfire are permitted in the discharge zones, which mostly are in areas zoned as agricultural and rural residential -- about two-thirds of Pataskala.

Council President Dan Hayes, Tim Hickin and Bryan Lenzo voted to table the legislation, with Fox and Todd Barstow voting against it. Pat Sagar was absent and one seat is vacant because new Mayor Mike Compton -- City Council's former Ward 2 representative -- took office this month.

In other business Jan. 6, City Council:

* Agreed to continue to schedule meetings the first and third Mondays of each month in 2014.

However, council members agreed to revisit the issue Jan. 20 and could change the meetings to the first and third Tuesdays of each month because of a council member's scheduling conflict.

The change would require an amendment to City Council's rules of order.

* Elected Hayes as council president and Sagar as vice president.

* Confirmed in a 5-0 vote the current committee assignments, with the potential to amend the assignments Jan. 20 to create a technology committee as part of the city's safety committee.

The change would require an amendment to City Council's rules of order.

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