Site last updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Log In

Reset Password
Butler County's great daily newspaper

Residents pack Jefferson Township meeting to back up Sprankle

The wooded area on Riemer Road in Jefferson Township known as Sprankle Woods, as photographed in January. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

JEFFERSON TWP — Dozens of township residents packed the municipal building Monday night, July 8, to back up local businessman Doug Sprankle, whose local event venue, Sprankle Woods, has had repeated run-ins with the township over the past month.

Sprankle has been hosting events at his 39.4-acre parcel of land which takes up parts of four townships, including Jefferson Township, since June. Since then, the township has served him with a citation for failing to receive a stormwater permit.

Sprankle attended the meeting, but could not speak during the public comment portion, as he is not a resident of Jefferson Township. Even after the meeting was adjourned, he kept his comments brief due to ongoing litigation.

“If you look at the last three months, at the behavior and the attitude and all the stuff that’s been happening, it’ll all come out in a few weeks from here,” Sprankle said. “There's a lot of people out there that have experienced hardships.”

Most of the crowd at Monday night’s meeting was there to speak on Sprankle’s behalf, as they felt Sprankle was being unfairly targeted by the township. According to most accounts, Sprankle has gotten most of the proper documentation from Winfield Township, another township where Sprankle Woods’ land intersects.

“He's been compliant with Winfield Township, from what I understand, and he pays taxes to that township,” said one resident. “Why are we going after a gentleman that's not a resident of this township, where his property is subdivided by multiple townships?”

Not all of the crowd at the meeting was there to speak on Sprankle’s defense. One of those exceptions was Jefferson Township planning commission member Evelyn Gross.

“Mr. Sprankle has never come to one of our meetings to ask about any of the rules and ordinances in Jefferson Township,” Gross said. “He needs to comply like any other businessperson in Jefferson Township. It is not a venue for his private use for his family or friends. It's for the public, the general public. If someone falls and gets hurt on Mr. Sprankle’s land, the way things are today, the township would be liable.”

According to Gross, the large crowd at this month’s meeting was largely due to a rush of support built up through from a series of posts from the Facebook group “Cabot News and Community,” a group where Sprankle has made at least one comment.

In late June, the group posted a picture of a citation that Sprankle received from Jefferson Township for failing to receive a stormwater permit.

“The township cannot reply to those comments,” Gross said. “We can reply here, but we can't reply on social media.”

Supervisors did not make any direct reference to Cabot News and Community during the meeting, nor did township manager Leo Rosenbauer. However, later on in the meeting, township Supervisor L. John Cypher said they would not reply to any questions posed by the public regarding Sprankle, seeing as the item was not on the evening’s agenda.

“We don’t reply to innuendo, gossip, subterfuge, lies, or uninformed public opinions,” Cypher said. “We follow the laws for everyone.”

All supervisors declined to talk to the Eagle after the meeting, as did Rosenbauer.

More in Government

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required