A deteriorated culvert near Brookfield Board of Education’s bus garage property has led to an in-depth examination of the property’s ownership.
A neighbor on the north side of the Grove Street property asked the district to fix a culvert, but district officials did not believe the culvert was on school property, said Treasurer Julie Sloan.
“We’ve owned that property for so long, there’s really no definitive pins,” she said.
The district hired a surveyor and attempted to record the new survey with the county, but a review by county officials showed that the county auditor listed part of the property as being owned by the county.
In 1983, the Trumbull County commissioners paid the board for a right-of-way to relocate the center line of Bedford Road, which is on the east side of the property. However, the Trumbull County auditor listed more than just the right-of-way section as being owned by the commissioners, said Julie Green, executive director of the Trumbull County Planning Commission.
The question was put to the land surveyor, Advanced Land Measurement of Brookfield, Valley Title of Warren and the county auditor’s tax map department, and they all agreed that the land is actually owned by the school board, Green said.
However, county Engineer Randy Smith, the lead surveyor for the county, said that additional title work might be necessary.
“We want to make sure that he is satisfied with what it is reflecting,” Green said.
Nic Coggins, planning commission assistant director, said the land was originally divided in 1849, and replatted 10 years later. The school board bought it in 1911.
“Nobody’s done any real survey work since (the 1800s), other than realigning the road,” Coggins said.
The planning commission approved the new survey April 12 with the condition that ownership be verified.
“Right now, there is nothing to suggest that there is anything outside of that 1911 deed until 1983, when they adjusted the center line of County Road 175 (Bedford Road),” Coggins said. “There’s no other title work to be found. The only thing that they’re looking at right now, or possibly need more information on, was the person that sold the property to the board of education, if he had the right to sell property to the board of education.”
“That being said, the commissioners in 1983 thought it was owned by the board of education or otherwise they wouldn’t have paid them for it,” Coggins said. “We still have to dot the Is and cross the Ts.”
Sloan said she got legal counsel involved, but believes the issue is cut and dry.
“The legal counsel agreed with the surveyor,” she said. “Really, it’s a dispute over a small triangle piece. It appears to be an error in the auditor’s office.”
A representative of the county’s tax map department confirmed June 21 that the issue had been resolved with the school district maintaining ownership of the parcel.
And the culvert that started it all? Well, it turns out it wasn’t on the school’s property to begin with.