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This site is the home of Wyoga Lake Homeowners Association and Wyoga Lake Estates, located in Stow and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

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Response to Questions Regarding Tree Harvesting, 02/24/2015

Friends and Neighbors

We would like to thank everyone for their input on the tree harvest.  Though we have attempted to answer everyone's questions, we still had a few question arise.  We will try and answer every question, but there still may be a few we do not get to or cannot answer at this time.  There have been numerous hours put in by the Trustees and the Tree Committee.  Here is a list of questions a resident would like answered:

1)      What are the Riparian Setbacks? Have you worked with the EPA?

In this case the Riparian Setbacks deal with placing a structure where a creek exists presently.  It deals with how many feet the structure can be from the flood plain as not to disrupt drainage.  This does not apply for harvesting trees from the property.

According to the Summit County Soil Conservation Web Site:

Are you planning on building a new structure or expanding an existing one on your property? If your land has a stream on it, you may have to take into account the riparian setback, or “no-build area,” on each side of the stream. The size of the setback corresponds to the size of the watershed area that drains into your stream. Riparian setback widths have already been established for the streams in Summit County. RIPARIAN SETBACK WIDTHS Width on each side of stream… …with watershed areas less than n… …but greater than… 300 feet* --- 300 sq.mi. 100 feet 300 sq.mi. 20 sq.mi. 75 feet 20 sq.mi. 0.5 sq.mi. 50 feet 0.5 sq.mi. 0.05 sq. mi. 30 feet 0.05 sq.mi. --- *The Cuyahoga River is the only stream that receives a 300-foot setback So… before starting any work that involves construction, filling, moving or removing dirt (even expanding an existing structure), contact your Township Zoning Inspector or Summit SWCD for information about stream protection laws.

The EPA deals with ground water and the changing of drainage of water.  It also protects wet lands.  We have spoken to the EPA as well as Summit Soil Conservation and the Army Corp of Engineers.  Even though legally we did not have to speak with them we valued their opinion on the matter.  According to EPA rules, Summit Soil Conservation, and Army Corp of Engineers, as long as the trees harvested are not harvested by heavy machinery in the wet lands, we are within guidelines.  We spoke to all the tree companies and found that they are not using heavy machinery in the wet lands.  We also looked at an Environmental Impact Assessment or EIS through the EPA.  The EIS is done when waste water discharge or ground water is disturbed by building or rerouting.  That does not apply in this case.

2) Have you discussed any of this with Councilman Bob Adaska? if so, how will this affect noise pollution, roads, future flooding?

Yes we have spoken to Mr. Adaska, who not only is our Stow City Councilman in our district but a resident of Wyoga Lake.  He was personally handed a copy of the early letter and was nice enough to take time out of his schedule to talk with us.  Keep in mind although we value Mr. Adaska’s opinion, this harvest is on private property.  As far as noise, no trees are being removed from the hill area that runs along route 8.  We also have a 300 foot set back from Hampshire RD and buffer along the houses on Commadore Rd as well.  The vehicles used by the tree companies will be within the laws of the State of Ohio and the City of Stow as far as roadways.  As far as flooding, we live in a flood plain next to a lake.  Flooding is going to be expected.  Flooding like we had last May cannot be predicted or controlled.  Further ODNR advised unless any area is clear cut the trees do not play a big factor in flooding.  Yes the trees absorb water but not a significant amount to stop the flooding.   

3) How will this effect the Mud Brook Watershed and contamination to the lake?

The Mud Brook watershed spans much much further past our neighborhood.  A watershed for a particular creek is defined as: the area of land that includes a particular river or lake and all the rivers, streams, etc., that flow into it.

When you consider what is a watershed which is a huge area, with Mud Brook Watershed starting in Northern Hudson and working down through our lake and out. Though we are removing trees we are not removing stumps that will do two things, first help soil erosion and allow other trees to grow as well as the tree cut to regenerate.   

4) Will runoff from the hospital be affected by the lack of a buffering zone once the trees are removed?  We have no control of businesses building off Seasons Road.  With the harvest we are not adding any more waste water to Mud Brook.  Also there are a small number of trees being removed by Mud Brook itself.  The majority of the trees are coming from the farthest part of property towards Steels Corners Road.  The runoff that we currently get from new business as well as Akron General, according to ODNR, will have little to no effect. 

  5)  How many small trees will be destroyed in the process of removing the big trees?

There is no way to get an exact count on the number of smaller trees that will be damaged.  The trees that are damaged will grow back.  Trees fall every day in the woods and new ones start or the tree adapts.  We made sure that the tree company spread out its choice of trees to harvest throughout the area as not to deplete one particular area around us.  Also we are working with professional tree cutters, not the weekend warrior with a chainsaw.  The trees selected are not only selected by quality but on how they can be cut and where the tree will fall.  They plan on cutting the trees to size then removing them to not scar or damage the trees on the way out. 

6) Have you considered taking less trees (are the number you decided on really necessary) ?

Yes we have actually lowered the amount of “prime trees” down from what was selected to be harvested originally.  However, we did listen to the residents and increased the number of Ash trees to be removed.  Also this is a small job already for the company and lowering too many does not make it profitable for them.  It was actually recommended by ODNR to take more. 

7) Have you set a date for the logging?

No date has been set for the harvest at this time.  From speaking with the tree companies they prefer to harvest when the ground is frozen.  That way their vehicles cause less damage to the ground and allow the grass and surrounding trees to start their spring blooms so they can fill out faster.

8) Have you taken a vote?

Yes.  After hearing feedback at the Spring and Fall 2014 member meetings, as well as speaking to residents throughout the year, the WLHA board of trustees has voted yes unanimously on several occasions to move forward with this project.

9) Have you sent a mass mailing for residents?

Yes we have sent out an email via to all listed emails in the Turtle Times, posted information on the Web page, and used social media via Facebook.  As soon as weather permits the boards will be changed directing people to go to wyogalake.com for information.  Also several people have found out through word of mouth.

10) What research did you do legally in regards to the Conservation Association? What attorney compared the deed with tax regulations?
11) What research did you do regarding tax consequences? Will using money from trees have stipulations attached that could affect us down the line?

We would like to answer these two questions together.  WLHA is a “Not for Profit.” 

DEFINITION OF 'NOT FOR PROFIT':

A not for profit organization is a type of organization that does not earn profits for its owners. All of the money earned by or donated to a not for profit organization is used in pursuing the organization's objectives. Typically not for profit organizations are charities or other types of public service organizations. Generally, not for profit organizations can apply for a tax exempt status so that the organization is not subject to most forms of taxation. Donations made to a tax exempt not for profit organization may also be tax-deductible for the donor. 

In the Conservation Association’s paperwork it states that the WLHA board has controlling interest over it.  The harvest is just one part of the income of WLHA.  Other income sources are membership dues, donations, Wyogapalooza, and other fundraising events that we have held over the years.

I hope that we are able to answer your questions.  As more information comes in we will forward it to all of the residents.  Thank you for the support given to this project


Sincerely;

WHLA Trustees

WLHA Tree Committee

 

Tree Harvesting Update, February 12, 2015

This letter is to update everyone on the tree harvest scheduled for this year.  We apologize for taking so long to follow up from our last letter.  We wanted to take time to make sure we had all our facts straight and had time to get the correct answers for you  This was a tough decision that the board made to secure the future of Wyoga Lake.  The board made the decision only after discussing other options and concerns for the neighborhood.  We understand that not everyone is happy with what we have done and others have applauded our “thinking outside the box” approach.  As a board, we understand numerous residents have been long time members and have dedicated money and hours of work to make this a great community to live and raise a family.  We would like to say thank you for you have done.  We also appreciate the opinions of everyone and would like to take a few minutes and explain why and how we came to the conclusion that we did.  We know that not everyone will agree with everything in this letter but please look at things objectively.  Some of the things here may or may not affect you.  What is good for some may appear bad to others.  Try to look at what is important as a whole. 

 

UPGRADES:

We discussed all the upgrades needed to the park.  You can only paint and put band aides on things for so long.  Here is a list of items that we felt needed updated or repaired.

 Dock:  The dock is in need of repair. There are numerous holes and the beams are rusting.

 Trees:  Yes we know it sounds absurd that one would cut trees to plant trees.  The trees we want to plant are at the beach.  Several trees in this area over years have died or have fallen.  A few of the trees that provided much needed shade are starting to show their age and we are concerned that they will fall possibly causing damage to structures or worse to people.  From what we have been told no trees have been planted at the beach since the early 80s, almost 35 years ago.  The trees will be planted in areas to best benefit the beach for shade and to stabilize the area.  The idea is to bring in an arborist and have them recommend the species of tree that will flourish in that environment. 

 Buildings:  Not only is the aging building in need of repair there was hope of a new building to be used as a tool shed.  There are several holes in the main building and the concrete needs sealed and an anti-slip coating.  Anyone who has had wet shoes/feet and walked into that building know what we mean.  We have seen several slips and falls.  The goal of the new building is to put it back by the fence where the small shed is now.  We would take all those tools, nails, lawn equipment get them out of main building and put them there.  That way we do not have to worry about anyone getting cut and can make it more enjoyable to people having parties to not have to worry about placing food out with the smell of gas and muck from them.  The small shed, currently in the back by the fence would be moved next to the main building and would be used to store paper products, extra supplies like tables, chairs, and items for the life guards.  That would open up the main building and allow for a much nicer place for the members to enjoy.

 Bridge:  The Bridge that crosses Mudbrook creek on the Hampshire RD trail needs looked at and repaired.  The bridge is crumbling the one side the rails have fallen off.  We would need to bring in a concrete expert and see what are best options are.

Basketball court:  The court is in need of resurfacing.  Also it is in need of new back boards and rims.  We were told by a resident that kids rather stay and shoot hoops in their drive then at the lake because of how bad the court is.

 Well pump:  The pump is getting older and concerns have risen.  Just something to watch.

 Misc Items:  Chairs, picnic tables, need to replace a $500 life guard raft (was advised by guards of poor condition, been patched numerous times), ect....

 Dock Ladders:  They have been welded back together several times and are bent.  We were forced to buy a lessor quality make due to lack of funds, this is the results.

 Pavilion:  The pavilion is aging.  We were able to get the concrete leveled and we attempted to secure the column that is sinking.  The roof needs repaired along with boards needing replaced do to rot and insects.

 Parking Lot:  The lot needs repaired.  Adding new gravel will not fix it.  We know the parking lot floods but we still need to repair it.  We received a quote to repair the lot for $2500.  The lot was going to be dug up and leveled flat.  Then the a form of a chip seal that uses old asphalt grindings and tar laid on top that would have a slight pitch so that water could roll off into the ditch to have better drainage.  Right now when it rains there are huge puddles that stay wet for days and the lot is a mud pit.  Every time you went to the lake your car looked like it came back from some off roading event.  This is the same material that was used on the driveway in and appears to be weathering the flooding well.

 The ditch:  The ditch that runs along the fence line down to the lake needs to be cleaned out.  We received a quote of $1000 to have heavy machinery come in and clear it.  This would allow for drainage from the parking lot but also from the area next to the parking lot which is turning into a swampy mosquito haven and develops a not so pleasant smell.

 

FINANCIAL:

We have stayed pretty consistent with membership numbers but expenses continue to increase. There have been several ideas for fund raisers to offset the increase of expenses.  If we did not take the tree harvest money it would put more strain on the members to pay more.  In order to make up for the income the trees will bring, dues would have to be increased to $500 or more, or, we would have to hold 13 Wyogapaloozas next year.  Wyogapalooza is our biggest fund raiser and without them we would have lost money over the past several years.  We need to keep doing them just to keep our day to day operations going.  After last year’s flood, we took a huge hit to an already small account.  Our concern about raising membership dues is that some of our friends and neighbors are struggling financially. This board wants every family to join and make it affordable for all.    If we raised every membership just $10, it could cause some families not to join. With people out of work and seniors living on social security, this is no time to raise dues.   

 We held a “bumpy road raffle” a few years ago to raise money for the drive leading into the park.  We received complaints from people and a few eye rolls when we tried to sell the tickets. We only raised about $800.  We also heard complaints from members that it is always the same 15 people doing all the work.  A few others said it felt like every time you turn around someone is there with their hand out for money.  There are several good organizations and causes that come door to door looking for donations like the Band, Stow Youth Football, Stow Baseball, Churches, Veterans, and several others.  The last thing we want to do is to become a burden on our residents constantly asking for money.  We would have to do about 30 “bumpy road raffles” to raise the money from the tree harvest.   

 RESEARCH ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS:

Keep in mind the trustees are members of this community like everyone else.  We have the same concerns for the lake and surrounding areas as much as you do.  We understand that our decision affects you.  We raise our families here just like you.  We call Wyoga Lake home just like you.  Even though we are on the board for only three years, we will continue to live here and be part of this community.  It is upsetting when a few people say we have our own agenda or accuse of us of not caring.  Our kids get on that same bus as yours.  We sit on that same beach and enjoy that same view as you do.  We have the same concerns you have about flooding.   There has been hours of talk back and forth about this subject with a few fights thrown in.  We have talked to professionals and tried to make the best decision for the whole community.  We looked at the facts and the concerns.  We walked the wooded area to get an idea of what the landscape was like.  We did research on the effects of a tree harvest via the internet.  We spoke with two different Arborists and got opinions.  We spoke to the Army Corp of Engineers and to Summit County Soil and water Conservation on wet land impact and the rules to follow.  We learned that we are harvesting a small amount of trees per acreage.  We learned that we are within the guidelines of the Army Corp of Engineers and Summit County.  We obtained multiple estimates from different logging companies and even a company as a referral from a member.  We learned that the state of Ohio harvests 10 million board feet a year.  Yes, we understand that the logging company is a profit business and are making money from the harvest.  This is no different than any other business that we have paid in the past for services.  We learned that trees are the only renewable resource we have.  We learned that when a tree is removed that it allows other trees to grow and thrive.  It is like the gold fish theory:  a gold fish will grow only as big as the size tank it is in.  The same theory applies to trees.  When the bigger “prime” trees go, the others will grow and spread and get larger.  We learned how we can start the process of regenerating the trees by   leaving the branches and tree tops on the ground without chipping them.  It allows seedlings to grow at a faster rate and keeps them safe from animals eating them.  We also addressed the Ash tree issue by allowing an extra thirty trees to be harvested before the trees die.  We have listened and we tried to educate ourselves on the matter.  We have put together a four person committee to research and to monitor the harvest and to represent the best interest for WLHA.  The committee has met several times and has discussed and addressed the concerns of everyone.

 THE FUTURE:

This is not a sprint but a marathon.  We are here and will continue to be here.  We plan on raising our families here.  One thing that is concerning to the board is that about 1/3 of our memberships (33 senior members 109 total members) are senior memberships.  We looked at where will Wyoga Lake be in 5, 10 and 15 years from now?  How can we open the park to younger families?  How do we market ourselves for memberships to increase?   What have we done to improve and upgrade?  With the high adrenaline gaming places and kids being involved in stuff like zip lines, trampoline places, rock climbing and other high intensity stuff, how can we get them to come to the lake?  We need to adapt our beautiful park into a modern place for families.  We do not want to lose our tight community or all the history that our lake has.  This is one of the best hidden treasures in Stow and we want to keep it that way.   In no way are any of these changes and improvements meant to disrespect our long time members and all that they have done.  Businesses have to adapt to the times and so do we.  We have heard the complaint that we do not want to turn this into a water park and just leave it alone.  Maybe that one person does not want change but others do.  Please do not make your opinion solely on what you want but what is best for everyone in the neighborhood.  This is still a great place to live and that is why we are here.

We have environmental concerns going on as well.  Our biggest threat to our lake is the City of Hudson dumping waste into the river which flows into the lake, floods, and the way our storm drains work.  We have noticed a few people in our neighborhood have their washing machines tied into their sump pump which pushes the dirty water with cleaning product into the storm drain which dumps into the lake.  Also, other concerns include: the amount of salt the city dumps on the road, cars leaking fluids (oil, antifreeze, power steering, brake, etc.) on the roadway that eventually works its way to the lake.  The biggest issue is probably all the people who have lawn services put chemicals on their grass to kill weeds or grow their lawns. All of those chemicals make their way to the lake.  Next time you pass where drain pipes from the storm drains feed into the lake look at it.  There is either no weeds or it is like a jungle.  When we have flood issues most of the problem we have is the water getting to the lake, not water rising from it. We feel that the good from cutting the trees far outweighs the bad. 

Finally, we will speak to the Ohio State Forestry Department to address any environmental concerns and will issue its findings to everyone. 

I hope this letter has answered some of your questions and helps you understand what is going on in the neighborhood.  We look forward to seeing everyone again this summer at the beach.  

 

Sincerely,

WHLA Board

 

 

 

2015 Officers Elected

The 2015 Board of Trustees has met for the first time in 2015, getting ready for the new season.

Here are the 2015 Trustees and Officers:

President: Ron Spuhler
Vice President: Shawna Cossin
Treasurer: Joanna Butler
Secretary: Adam Vincent

Jeremy Faulconer
Taryn Bukowski
Kelli Close
John Hermann
Georgina Hermann
Frank Lambert
Mike Gross
Mike Dunton

We're all looking forward to a great 2015 season!