Landowner wants Mingo Junction to vacate set of easements

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson is set Tuesday to hear arguments in a civil case involving a business owner demanding that Mingo Junction vacate unused roads.

G&M Smith Family Limited Partnership of Wintersville owns more than 9 acres of land in the south end of the village. But the village has easements for streets named Susanna and Elizabeth and an unnamed alley.

Attorney John J. Mascio filed the petition for vacation of the streets after meeting several times with Village Council to no avail.

Mascio in the petition states he sent a letter to the village asking if Mingo Junction Council would be willing to vacate the streets. After no response, Mascio filed a petition to vacate the streets in common pleas court.

Mascio on July 23 appeared before council and made a presentation of vacating the streets. Council took no action.

On Aug. 26, Mascio again appeared before council making the same request.

At the meeting two councilmembers said they wanted to see plans on how G&M Smith Family Limited Partnership would develop the property. Council agreed to meet on Sept. 9 at the locations to view Mascio’s request on behalf of his client.

Mascio said the partnership, with Mary L. Smith as manager, can’t draft a plan on what to do with the property until it knows what it is working with.

He said abandoning of the streets and alley will give the business a complete tract of property without easements for village streets or an alley. Village Administrator Steve Maguschak said Susan Street is a gravel road.

At the council meeting on Sept. 10, a motion was made to vacate the streets but it died for a lack of a second.

The village then sent a letter to Mascio stating it had no intent to vacate the streets.

“The streets sought to be vacated are in a total state of disrepair, are overgrown with weeds and shrubbery, are neither needed or used for any municipal purpose,” Mascio said in his court petition.

He said vacating of the streets and alley will not be detrimental to the general interest of the village, and doing so would be in the best interest of the village since it would promote economic development.

Mascio wants Henderson, in the alternative to ordering the vacating of the streets and alleys, to issue a permanent injunction requiring the village to pave the streets in accordance with the street construction standards of the village, including curbing, gutters and drainage at no cost to his client. He said the paving of the streets is necessary to provide access to his client’s properties.

Village Solicitor Ernest Wilson responded to Mascio’s petition, stating the village is willing to consider vacating the streets and alley upon receipt of more information about the development plans.