Citing personal- and property-safety concerns, Violet Township officials have moved to ban through traffic by commercial freight and cartage carriers from traveling on several local roadways.
Under the ban, beginning April 17, no "through-traffic" will be permitted for trucks or vehicles "used to carry property or freight for commercial purposes" on several Violet Township roads.
The ban states: "No vehicular truck shall traverse any restricted route unless that vehicular truck intends to pick up or discharge cargo at a residence or business located on the restricted route, or at a residence or business located on a road only accessible from the restricted route."
Those found to be doing so by Fairfield County Sheriff's Office deputies could be subject to a $250 fine for their first offense. The fine would increase to $500 for a second offense within a year and to $1,000 for a third and each subsequent offense within a year.
"We were having the 50-foot semitrailers shortcutting through Violet Township on little two-lane roads to get up to the Amazon distribution centers in Licking County," said Terry Dunlap, Violet Township trustees chairman.
"That takes them through township roads and little subdivisions."
"Trucks that are delivering or picking up on those streets are not affected" by the no-through-trucks ban, Dunlap said. "And if that's the only way you can get to where you're going, you're exempted.
"But if you are going through, no."
Dunlap said there have been numerous incidents in the past two years in which semitrucks have sideswiped school buses, damaged utility poles and crashed from going off narrow two-lane roadways in the township.
So the trustees unanimously approved a resolution at their March 18 meeting, banning the through traffic by commercial trucks from the following:
* Allen Road, north of its intersection with U.S. Route 33
* The entire length of Saylor Road Northwest
* Stemen Road, west of the border dividing Violet and Liberty townships
* Wagram Road, between state Route 204 and the border dividing Fairfield and Licking counties
* The entire length of Ault Road
* Saylor Road, between Stemen and Refugee roads
* The entire length of Huntington Way
* Toll Gate Road, between Refugee and the border between Fairfield and Licking counties
* Doty Road, between Stemen and state Route 256
Fairfield County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Horacek said the township exercised its home-rule authority in passing the ban.
"Being a limited home-rule township, the board of trustees is able to exercise all powers of local self-government within the unincorporated area of the township, other than powers that are in conflict with general laws and with certain restrictions," Horacek said.
"They are specifically able to adopt and enforce within the unincorporated area of the township local police, sanitary and other similar regulations that do not conflict with general state laws and are not otherwise prohibited by statute."
Horacek said the move was endorsed by the Fairfield County Prosecutor's Office.
"The Fairfield County Prosecutor's Office serves as the law director, or legal adviser, to Violet Township, and therefore we support the board of trustees' determination that this is a necessary measure for the health and safety of the citizens of Violet Township," he said.
"I do hope that the resolution will be effective in combatting large truck travel on the specified roadways.
"The posting of signs alone should help drivers realize that these roads are not the best routes to get where they are going," Horacek said.
"Additionally, we have been working with the sheriff's office on the specific enforcement procedures to allow deputies to issue appropriate citations under this resolution if necessary."
Dunlap said signs that will alert drivers to the new law have been ordered and would "go up as soon as they come in."
"We hope this will cut down on sideswipes or property damage or injuries to our residents," Dunlap said. "It's been an issue for about two years."