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Sprankle cited by Jefferson Township

This wooded area on Riemer Road in Jefferson Township is owned by Doug Sprankle. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

When Doug Sprankle, owner of Sprankle's Neighborhood Markets, purchased a 39.4-acre property on Riemer Road — which he dubbed “Sprankle Woods” — to host community events, he knew he would have to make some changes to the property to make it right for his vision.

Now those changes have lead to Sprankle being cited with nontraffic citations by Jefferson Township for one count of failing to provide a land development plan and seven citations for not obtaining permits, totaling $1,600.

“I'm going to defend myself in court and let the legal system decide the answers,” Sprankle said. “It's really frustrating for me, as a business owner in the community and contributor to public events, to have a township who has no stake in my property use the system to put pressure on me to have me do something that's against my rights.”

Sprankle said he believes the citations stem from the property allegedly being situated in Jefferson, Winfield, Clinton and Buffalo townships according to maps from the 1800s, but in the 100-plus year history of the property, it has always answered to Winfield.

According to court documents, seven of the citations refer to the installation of structures on the property without proper permissions, which Sprankle said are his shipping containers that store farm equipment.

“Winfield is where the property is assessed to, the tax card is listed to, the deeds listed to,” Sprankle said. “These are all things that point to Winfield running the property.”

According the court documents, the eight citations were signed and issued by Jefferson Township manager Leo Rosenbauer, who was not able to be reached for comment as of Friday, June 21.

Sprankle said he was issued no warnings of any kind by Jefferson Township, and he has filed all the necessary permits through Winfield Township, at a cost of $35 per permit.

Sprankle said he has never paid taxes to Jefferson Township and the previous owners never did either, which also adds to his frustration and confusion.

“I'm nervous for the rest of the land owners in these split areas, because it could set a precedent for all the townships to go after property owners who traditionally go to one township for taxes,” Sprankle said.

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