Rittman residents say church property runoff is no holy water

RITTMAN, OH (WOIO) - Bill Goebel and his neighbors have a problem.

Rain water is running off the parking lot and property of the Life Tabernacle Church near homes in Rittman.

It's been going on for several years.

"It's all clay, the grass is all sparse and weedy, so it's just like an open drain coming right into our yards. At this point it's gonna be big money for somebody to fix this and so they're not willing to work with us at all," Goebel said.

Video taken earlier this week during a storm illustrates why Goebel is frustrated with leadership at the church, his back door neighbor.

When it rains water pours right toward his house and at times basement.

It has also undermined his driveway, heaving it. Dan Kocsis is Bill's plumber and was at his home on Friday.

"I'm talking to all the neighbors today and just kinda creating a simple plan to what's turning out to be a major problem."

The pitch from the church property and the parking lot is severe, running down toward the neighbor's homes.

If the church was willing to install a drainage ditch or a swale to buffer the properties water could run out to the street and then the culvert and away.  Dan figures it will cost each of 4 or 5 homeowners about $5000 to stop the holy water from coming their way.

But for the church to fix the problem it will cost far less. "2,000 up there saves maybe 25,000 down here?"  He replied "Yeah, if they did that alone that would cause that would save these guys a lot of heartache and headache."

Goebel has done his homework trying to get someone to lead on this rather than turn away.

A letter from Rittman City Manager Derek Feuerstein said Wayne County Soil and Water, and Building had nothing to do with it.  Rittman Planning approved it, but doesn't have the records from 11 years ago.  Goebel said church Pastor Edward Nichols once offered to fix things.

"The board got involved and the board doesn't want to do anything, they don't want to spend any money so their put a halt to that."

We visited the church but no one was there, our attempts by phone, email and Facebook also were not responded to.

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