President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
April 2, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. There was a moment of silence for Matt Maupin. Mrs. Harlow stated our condolences go out to the family of Matt Maupin. Sergeant Maupin served his country very well and Id like to let our community know that Mrs. Maupin has made a donation in the past to our Veterans Memorial.
Mrs. McNear took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Diehl, Galster, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and Harlow.
The minutes of March 19, 2008 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mrs. McNear reminded everyone that the Ohio Ethics Commissions annual report is due April 15. Please do not be late as it is a $10 a day fine if you miss the deadline.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Tom Hinkle, said Ive lived here 62 years and my mother 91 years. I have two rental properties in Springdale and try to take care of them the best way I can. One I have is on Lawnview and Kemper. I taught school for forty years and when a couple of children were misbehaving I didnt punish the whole class, and I think thats what is happening with this ordinance. There are a few people who dont take care of their properties but some of us are doing our best. One of the things I resent is getting this $5.82 registered letter that I have to go over and stand in line at Forest Park for because there is a weed growing on the lot because there is a drought going on. Give me a call or an e-mail. Mr. Winkle sent me a letter a couple of years ago because there was a strip of concrete on the top of my mothers house that wasnt painted. Five thousand registered letters sent out last year is $25,000. Why dont you call people or send them an e-mail first.
Mrs. Harlow said we are going to read the ordinance in a few minutes and then we will open it back up for discussion then.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 15 -2008 ADOPTING CHAPTER 123 OF THE SPRINGDALE CODIFIED ORDINANCES PROVIDING FOR SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL RENTAL DWELLING PERMITS
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. McErlane, Building Official, stated this ordinance will provide an additional tool for maintenance of property. Rental properties typically are not maintained as well as owner occupied properties for the primary reason that the residents of the building do not have a vested interest in the property. This ordinance will require an annual permit to be issued by the Building Department. It will also require an initial inspection of the exterior and interior of the premises. Then an inspection would be done with change of occupancy, or every two or three years if the occupancy doesnt change. The fee established is $50 per year per dwelling unit. Each landlord will be informed of the requirements of it initially. There are approximately 300 single resident properties. This is the first step in the rental inspection program. In the future we should be introducing multi family units as well and we are looking at 1900 units total when we get to that point.
Mr. Hinkle said dont judge me with the others. Should I have to pay $50? Should I have to be subject to all this? I guess so.
Jengna Shah, 11832 Woodvale Court, said I am a realtor and resident of Springdale for twenty-five years. My concern is people will be afraid to buy in Springdale because of all the rules and regulations. Why cant Springdale just require that all rental property owners to register their tenants with the City so the City knows who lives at that property. I dont understand the rationale behind the $50 fine. Its not the money; its the rules and regulations and it seems they are getting nit picky at this point.
Mr. Galster said I happen to disagree. If you look at the housing stock in Springdale, there are definitely a number of them that are neglected. There are definitely a number of them in need of repair. There are definitely houses that have occupancy rates higher than what should be permitted in the single family home. I think this is an attempt to secure values of properties for all property owners in the City. I think its a positive step. A landlord is running a business, renting out property to make money. This is a cost of doing business. It requires the landlord to be registered and allows us access to the building to make sure there are no violations inside the building. Mr. Hinkle, the certified letters sent out are a requirement of the law that we give you proper notification of a violation. If we send an e-mail how do we know that you received it, how do we know if you are going to respond to it? If the grass is too long and we add another process to the notification then it is neglected for a longer period of time. Imagine the inspector trying to reach people by e-mail, or telephone, or in person.
Mr. Hinkle said we could put a twenty-four hour e-mail notice into our Code before we send out registered letters.
Mayor Webster said there is a reason the statue of justice is blind. If you get an e-mail and someone else gets a letter, justice is not equal. We have to enforce the law equally.
Mr. Hinkle said I feel all the landlords in Springdale are being punished because some of them are not going by the law.
Mayor Webster said if you look at ninety percent of the laws we have on the books, the reason they are there is because a few people dont exercise common sense so you have to pass laws and regulations that affect everyone including the ones that exercise good judgment.
Mrs. Shah asked what is Springdales law regarding the number of persons per square feet?
Mr. Galster said we have two formulas. One is based on the square footage of the house and another is based on the actual size of the bedrooms.
Mrs. Shah said sometimes we have to turn people away who are willing to pay because they have too many kids to meet the ordinance requirement.
Mayor Webster said part of the licensing process is that the landlord will be issued a certificate of occupancy and that will tell you how many people he/she can rent to.
Mrs. Shah said if someone wants to live in Springdale and can afford to pay the rent but have a lot of children, they will feel discriminated against.
Mayor Webster responded we thoroughly researched this legally and what we have on the books we feel is enforceable. We are protecting property values by not allowing ten people to live in a house built for five people.
Mr. Danbury said the certified letter is a legal document so that we have a way of keeping a record of it. Springdale is an older community and we are maturing. A lot of people are moving out and renting their homes or are selling them to people who are absentee landlords. The landlords dont care anything about Springdale. They just care that they get their rent on time. This isnt punishing anybody; its about protecting your investment. We get complaints daily. The people who are paying for their houses, living in them and taking care of their properties deserve rights too.
Mr. Wilson said the key thing here is conformity. As a landlord for $50 a year to have an inspector come out and tell me whats wrong with the house would save me money. I may not have time to inspect. As a homeowner, I would be concerned if someone moved next door to me with ten kids in a four bedroom house. Extended family in the same house is cool in other countries but not here. When they come here they have to comply with those guidelines and rules.
Mr. Squires said I take issue with you, Mr. Hinkle, on the use of the word punishment. There is no attempt on the part of this City to punish anybody. If the City should end up in court we need proof that that notification has been sent. As for the other item, there is also a health issue involved in the number of people we have in these homes.
Mayor Webster stated I dont want anyone to think that this one ordinance is a do-all and will solve all our housing problems in the City. This is not. This is the first phase of a multi-faceted effort on the part of this Council and Administration to maintain and improve the housing stock in this City. We are in the process of hiring another full-time building inspector. We are looking at several other ordinances. We have a nuisance ordinance under consideration. Tonights legislation only affects single families. This will be enhanced to include all rental units in the City of Springdale as soon as we can get the mechanism in place to do that and there are several other things we are considering. Landlords are not the root of all evil in Springdale but wed be foolish to not be aware of the fact that rental properties are not taken care of as well as single family homes.
Mr. Diehl said Mr. Hinkle, most of the people who rent property in Springdale maintain their property very well. There are exceptions to the rule and what we are doing here is trying to protect the neighborhoods. We are not trying to punish you. We are just trying to enhance the value of the whole community. On the other point about notification, I will request that the Housing Committee look at the whole concept of how we go about things and perhaps we can make changes, or maybe well come back and say this is just the way it is.
Mr. Galster said the City originally started out with a Property Maintenance Code as a way of trying to control the quality of the housing stock. Its an ongoing process and if we dont do it, the quality of the homes continues to go down. There are demands on the Health Department, Police Department, Fire Department, all aspects of the City in addition to the wear and tear, property maintenance, etc. It only makes sense to only have a certain number of people in a house of a certain size. There are many situations where we are trying to put way too many people in too small a home. We dont want to exclude good people from the City of Springdale, but at the same time we have to look out for the people who live here already.
Mr. Hinkle said have we ever thought of having a committee who would help people who cant afford to paint? I would do that.
Mrs. Shah said I do want my property value not to decrease. That is why I have been living in Springdale for twenty-five years. Thats why we came to Springdale, but at the same time, Im not sure how well this ordinance is going to take off in the city especially if someone wishes to purchase a home in Springdale and they have a lot of these rules and regulations to follow.
Mr. Squires said there is an organization in Springdale called SOS (Springdale Offering Support). They meet the third Wednesday of the month.
Mr. Vanover said there are a lot of homeowners associations in Springdale.
Ordinance 15-2008 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 16-2008 AMENDING THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, TO AMEND VARIOUS SECTIONS OF CHAPTER 153 OF THE SPRINGDALE ZONING CODE
Mr. Danbury made a motion to read by title only and Mr. Squires seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said this is a housekeeping effort concerning such things as maximum size of garages and accessory buildings, pet day care facilities, storage pods, generators, maximum size of commercial parking lots and shared parking lots, etc.
Mr. Danbury said the ordinance contains reading a lot of numbers and is available in the Municipal Building if anyone would like to see it.
ORDINANCE NO. 18-2008 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH GARY CARSON FOR THE CREATION OF TWO BRONZE STATUES FOR THE VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Wilson made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Wilson said in Section 2 when we talk about a statue for a sailor, that sailor represents the Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. The soldier represents the Army, Marines, and Army Air Corps from the World War II era. These will also represent the total ethnic make-up of all branches of the services. I ask all elected officials to support this ordinance.
A lot of details have been placed in this. It will be more exact than just a simple statue.
Mr. Osborn stated the committee has put a lot of work into this. We looked at a couple of artists and chose Gary Carson because of his work in Blue Ash. We went through several iterations of these drawings. The work is highly detailed and will be first quality. We had hoped to have the statues in place by Armistice Day this year but we just dont have the time to do that. We have decided we prefer to have the statues ready by Memorial Day 2009 and have them of high quality. Well pay thirty percent at the time we execute the contract, thirty percent when we approve the clay model and forty percent due when the statues are erected. The forty percent wont be paid until 2009. I want to thank everyone on the committee for their hard work. It was not an easy process to determine how we were going to represent so many very deserving people in the different branches of service. I think it was a fine decision to pick the era of World War II and try to stay with two statues because we have a limited budget and have them represent a cross section of our armed services. I also want to express my appreciation to the artist for being so patient with us.
Mr. Vanover said these statues do not negate the placards representing the different branches of service.
Mr. Osborn said each branch of service will have a separate stone on the back wall. I need to talk to the committee about that because our architect made a suggestion that we could put the seal of each service up there or a bau relief of something such as a destroyer charging through the water.
Ordinance 18-2008 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R7-2008 A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE TO FILE AN APPLICATION AND ENTER INTO A PROJECT AGREEMENT WITH THE OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION TO STABILIZE AND ENHANCE BEAVER RUN, A DEGRADED RIPARIAN CORRIDOR
Mr. Squires made a motion to read by title only and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mayor Webster said this is a City Council meeting. I think we are doing the public a great injustice by reading these resolutions by title only.
Mr. Osborn said we have had a failure in a gabion wall in Beaver Run Creek at Chamberlain Park that was built in 1979. This location is just downstream from an earlier project similar to this that we did in 2003. There is funding available under the Ohio Public Works Commission under the Clean Ohio Act for repairs of this type. We anticipate that the construction costs would be around $332,000. We have added in a ten percent contingency of $33,000. Engineering will be $45,000 and permitting through the Army Corps of Engineers will be about $5,000. The total cost of the project is $416,086. Of that 31.9 percent will be the responsibility of the City and 68.1 percent will the funding for which we are applying. If this goes as we have drafted it, the Clean Ohio funds should contribute $283,530 and we will be contributing $132,556. Of that $132,000 more, more than $53,000 will be in-kind services that we contribute through our own efforts. So for $79,000 in cash we will be bringing in a project of just over $416,000. Keep in mind that this is an application and we may not get the funding but that is the background on this.
Mrs. McNear said for the audience, those of us sitting up here get quite a large packet of information and we read it. In my fourteen years Ive always read this for understanding and content, but now in my new position I read this to make sure that I can pronounce all the words.
Mr. Vanover said part of the original project we did was necessitated by the same situation. We had a gabion wall rock cage that was undermined by the stream current. This is to head off a total collapse.
Mr. Osborn said this will give us more capacity to reduce the velocity of water coming through that area. It will give us a broader bank to help reduce the potential for flooding. It does have a lot of environmental benefits in addition to just repairing a wall.
Mr. Wilson said I agree with the Mayor on reading the resolutions/ordinances. Perhaps we can have someone explain the ordinance prior to the reading to let the audience know what it is about before we vote or set a number of pages of what we read or dont read in totality.
Mayor Webster said I think its common sense to read the ordinances.
Mrs. McNear said Im hearing you and will read them no matter how many pages there are with the one exception of the earlier resolution that was all numbers. I can read all the numbers without any problem; however, it doesnt give the audience any content of what we are talking about so in that case it probably does make sense to read by title only and give an explanation.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Resolution R7-2008 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury said we have posters advertising the baseball game if anybody knows anyone who could put them up at their businesses/churches.
Mayor Webster reported Springdale has been named Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the sixteenth year. There will be an Arbor Day ceremony on April 25th at the Community Center.
Mr. Parham stated it is time for the health insurance program renewal.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - April 8
Board of Health - April 10
Board of Zoning Appeals - April 15
Charter Review - April 16
Boating Safety Day (Police Department and USCG) - April 12
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 16 - April 16
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Stop Loss for Health Insurance - April 16
Third Party Administrator for Health Insurance - April 16
Council adjourned at 8: 28 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council
City of Springdale Council
April 2 2008