President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on July 18, 2007
, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Knox gave the invocation.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear. Mrs. Harlow was absent.
The minutes of June 20, 2007 were approved with five affirmative votes. Mrs. Harlow was absent and Mr. Danbury abstained.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - no report
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works Mr. Wilson said the bid opening for the 2007 street program was held on July 12 and it is anticipated that the legislation to award the contract will be before Council tonight. Construction should begin in September and be completed in October.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Mr. Danbury said a few punch items need to be corrected on the CSX grade separation project. Duke began the installation of twenty-five street lights along this portion of SR 747. The request for $1.3 million in additional funding through OKI has received preliminary approval by OKI. SR 4 improvements at Crescentville are underway. Construction on the bridge is underway for Kemper Road Phase III. The widening on Kemper Road is underway and should be completed by the end of September. The project construction for SR 4 continuous northbound lane has been moved from 2009 to 2008 since there is no right-of-way required. The Crescentville Road improvement at SR 747 has some issues regarding the maintenance of traffic plans that need to be resolved with ODOT. Construction should start in the spring of 2009. A pre-construction meeting concerning the Kemper Road improvements at Tri-County Mall was held June 19. Construction was expected to start in July and be completed late August. There will be a presentation on the Veterans Memorial this evening. Most of the construction on this will be substantially complete by the spring of 2008. The Church Street parking project should be completed by August of this year. Construction on the Fire Department HVAC is expected to start in September with completion in October of this year.
Mr. Danbury stated I am very pleased with the pace of the widening of I-275.
Finance Committee Mr. Wilson said hopefully all of you have had an opportunity to review the latest CAFER. This comes out annually and this copy is through December 2006. If you have any questions please contact Jeff Williams.
Planning Commission Mr. Galster said Staples came in for a modification to their west elevation. When the grade separation was done at SR 747, they changed their entrance from the west elevation to the north elevation. The concern at the time is that the west elevation is the frontage that everybody sees when they go by so Planning Commission wanted to make sure that they made an attempt to break up the facade so it wasnt just one long blank wall. In their view it looks like an entrance and with the window blacked out, it looks like they are closed or out of business. They were trying to come up with ideas on how to break up the wall but still accomplish what they need to do. That was tabled. Glenview Glens, the medical facility at the corner of SR 4 and Sharon Road, still has a couple of issues. There are a lot of mature trees coming out of that development. There is still a discrepancy in what is on the site and what they are offering to plant on the site. They are still showing two curb cuts that Planning Commission does not feel is required and some setback issues. That was tabled by a 6-0 vote.
Mr. Danbury asked what kind of setbacks are we looking at from the road to where the parking lot would be?
Mr. Galster replied its eighty-five feet and its required at one hundred feet. They were proposing a ten foot setback to the property to the west that is still a residential property even though it is zoned transitional. Both setbacks are still an issue.
Mr. Danbury said I still believe the setback to the parking lot might be an issue. I want to have this project here but if we have to widen the road. . .
Mr. Galster stated this development has a huge front yard compared to the other developments that go from this proposed development to the Kemper Road intersection.
Board of Zoning Appeals Mr. Squires said two of these variances have to be considered almost simultaneously. At the June 19 meeting a resident requested to build a fence on a corner lot that would proceed down Harmony Avenue. We thought the fence at 639 Cloverdale might be out of variance so we could not act on this one until we settled the situation at 639 Cloverdale. That fence was encroaching nineteen feet on Harmony Avenue. The applicant from 639 Cloverdale indicated to us that that fence was built in 2003, prior to the time that a permit was required for a fence. Therefore, there was no inspection. We allowed the fence to stay with the condition that that fence could not, under any circumstances, be td or ld towards Cloverdale. That passed 6-0. The request at 640 Smiley was turned down because Harmony Avenue would appear to have a complete white wall between Cloverdale and Smiley. The resident was concerned that they had water spigots that they wanted to hide from vandals. The resident at 640 Smiley will remove a chain link fence in his back yard and go from the corner of his house back to the existing fence at 639 Cloverdale. The resident at 11580 Glenfalls Court asked to have two utility buildings in his yard. Between the two sheds he has, he has 200 square feet of utility buildings. He compromised by saying he would take both of those down if we would allow him to have a 10 foot by 16 foot utility shed. The board approved that request. The resident at 510 Lafayette Avenue wanted a 10 foot by 16 foot shed. It was approved with a 6-0 vote.
Mr. Squires continued we received a memorandum from Ken Schneider on the way we consider variances. We consider four factors: exceptional circumstances, preservation of property rights, absence of detriment and not of a general nature. The Legal Department said there is no legal problem with considering those rather than making required findings to all four. However, their office highly recommends that specifically the Ohio Supreme Court has held that to demonstrate practical difficulties, an applicant for a variance must address the seven factors outlined in Duncan vs. Middlefield. This memo will be forwarded to Planning Commission for consideration and then it will come back to Council.
Mayor Webster said the sole purpose for the people on Smiley requesting a variance was because vandals turn their water on.
Jeff Forbes stated our office was contacted because there were proposed changes to the Zoning Code with respect to the factors that BZA considers when considering variances. We didnt have any problems with the proposed changes but felt if we were going to make changes to the section on variances, we could go one more step and adopt the factors that the Supreme Court said we should be considering anyway.
Mr. Galster said Planning Commission saw the changes to the Zoning Code and referred it to be BZA to make sure that the legal report and the modifications to their requests were okayed by them before Planning Commission considered it. The seven rules the Supreme Court said was some time ago. It was my understanding that those were being applied at BZA already and now were being included in the Zoning Code so the applicant would have a better understanding of all the things BZA had considered.
Mr. Galster asked do you have any idea how deep the back yard is on the request on Glenfalls Court? You said that was a deep back yard and it backs up to the interstate. Its not a huge lot. On the Cloverdale and Smiley fences, was that a thirty-five foot setback or because they were trying to have a fence in the second front yard of a corner lot?
Mr. Squires replied it was a second front yard.
Mr. Danbury said if they are going to the expense of putting up a fence so no one turns on the water, they could use a screw driver to pull the handle off. Its an inconvenience but it will work.
Board of Health - no report
Veterans Memorial Committee Mr. Wilson said we are currently reviewing the contract for the Walden Pond Veterans Memorial golf outing on September. We are also looking at sponsorship opportunities. Jim Warner, CDS, has a presentation for us.
Jim Warner stated there is no fundamental change with the plan layout. It will be at the corner of Lawnview and SR 4. We are looking to have up to 3,800 pavers for donors who may want to purchase pavers. There will also be pavers flanking the main granite stones for living veterans. Public activity would take place at the entrance and the interior would be more of a sanctuary. Proposed are five black granite monuments with engravings of veterans names on them. We also have planned two statues, a soldier and a sailor, and two obelisks. We also have a lighted fountain planned. We have very nice landscaping planned. We were asked by the Veterans Committee to create as much as possible to fit within a $500,000 budget that would be extended over two fiscal years. In weighing the options we found we couldnt complete the entire monument and meet that budget. It would either require more extensive donations or to extend it over a longer period of time. It may make sense to do the whole project at the same time as there is such a small amount left. We plan to have it substantially complete for Memorial Day 2008.
Mayor Webster said we would be ecstatic to have it complete for Memorial Day but I think we better plan on Veterans Day. We committed $250,000 from the 2007 budget and another $250,000 in 2008. When CDS tried to phase it they came back with costs of $613,000 and $112,000. Administration has recommended to Finance Committee that we do the whole thing all next year.
Mr. Galster said the pavers for the veterans would be in an area that you dont walk on so there will be some sloping.
Mrs. McNear asked are we going to sell pavers?
Mr. Osborn replied yes, down the road. We do not intent to make a profit on the pavers, but sell them at cost.
Mr. Danbury asked what is our plan to find the people who should be on there?
Mr. Osborn replied we have some records but they are anecdotal. We have plaques so we have some names but I cant say that they are exhaustive. Perhaps we need to run a blurb in our newsletter explaining what we are trying to accomplish and asking for suggestions of anyone who would be eligible. Names of people who are listed on the wall would be residents of Springdale who were killed in action, not necessarily someone who was born in Springdale, moved away, and spent most of his/her life somewhere else. I think we have to come up with some policies about whose names would be on the wall.
There were no objections from Council to do the project in one phase.
O-K-I - meeting canceled
Mayors Report Mayor Webster said I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Karle and his staff for the July 4th event. I think we achieved what we set out to achieve.
Mayor Webster continued I have received a couple of calls from residents concerning what appears to be the scorched earth policy of the contractor on I-275. A lot of trees and shrubs are being taken down. I think you have to know where the walls are going in order to appreciate why they are taking those trees down. The contractor has been instructed not to take down any trees that are not necessary to be taken down.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director - no report
Administrators Report - no report
Law Directors Report (Jeff Forbes) - no report
Engineers Report (Pat Madl) - no report
Mr. Knox stated the first communication is concerning the proposed increase in gas rates for residential customers. It is proposed that the cumulative increase in the gas rate for 2008 will be 7.7% higher than this year. In 2009, it will be 9.4% higher than this year and in 2010 it will be 11% higher. This is not set in stone and traditionally it comes out a little bit less than they ask for.
Mr. Knox said we have a response from State Senator Eric Carney on SB 117 and HB 154. Thank you forwarding along to me resolutions R9-2007 and R10-2007 of the City of Springdale addressing SB 117 and HB 154. As you noted I initially voted against SB 117 on video service authorizations. SB 117 moved onto the House and was amended. I was satisfied with the changes and voted to support the bill when it appeared before the Senate on June 19. The bill will soon be sent to the Governor for his signature. HB 154 was introduced on April 17 and was assigned to a House Judiciary Committee. (This is the one that deals with Mayors Courts.) The smaller dockets and lower court costs Mayors Courts provide is a service to communities and residents. I will keep in mind how HB 154 will impact municipalities like Springdale when the bill appears before the Senate. Again I thank you for sharing your concern with me and if I can be of any further assistance please contact me.
Mr. Knox said the third correspondence is addressed to Mr. Jeff Tulloch from the Myers Y. Cooper Company: Dear Jeff, I want to thank you for your participation in the crew luncheon as a guest speaker. Your comments about public/private partnership for education are valuable to the participants. Your kind words about our partnership and the development of Springdale Town Center were greatly appreciated. As I mentioned in my opening remarks yesterday, public policy objectives can be achieved by working with developers. You and the fine people of Springdale prove this with the project we have accomplished together. Raymond K. Cooper II, President
Mr. Osborn said there were two separate communications from Duke. The first one was oriented to the commercial increases. This second one is residential. The PUCO may combine them into one but they were introduced about thirty days apart.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 35-2007 AMENDING ZONING CODE SECTION 153.902 OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AFFECTING VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION
Mr. Osborn said the Springdale Zoning Code currently provides a penalty in the classification of a minor misdemeanor for a violation. We have found that people, particularly some businesses, treat this as a cost of doing business, and while we cite them, they pay out their $50 and come back the next week or next month and do the same thing. We are proposing an escalation clause so that if they get a second citation under the Zoning Code within a two-year period, the minor misdemeanor escalates to a fourth degree misdemeanor which is citable to court. We can have them appear before the Magistrate and make commitments about correcting the problem. If they violate a third time within a two-year period, it becomes a third degree and the fourth time it would be a second degree misdemeanor. As it ramps up from fourth to second the fines get more intense. The idea is give the Zoning Code a little more clout and better control over some violations we are seeing.
Mr. Danbury asked is that the second violation of the same offense?
Mr. Osborn replied no, it can be any offense.
Frederico Maymir, 11844 Glenfalls Court asked what kind of violations are we talking about?
Mr. Osborn responded any kind of violation. Lets take a commercial property. It could be putting up banners, an illegal sign, having materials displayed outside the business that has not been authorized.
Mr. Maymir stated I guess every resident of Springdale is given a list of all those.
Mr. Osborn said we have a copy on file here. If anyone has a question they have the right to come in and review our codes.
Mr. Maymir asked would we have to review them one by one?
Mr. Osborn replied yes, thats the case for our traffic code, criminal law and everything else. We dont distribute these to every resident. The resident has an obligation to become familiar with the law.
Mr. Maymir stated it is hard to comply with the law if you dont know what the law is.
Mr. Osborn responded there is an obligation on the part of the resident to become familiar with the regulations of the community where they live. Its easy for someone to deal with the Zoning Code. All you have to do is call our Building Department. If you want to build something ask the Building Department if what you want to do requires a building permit and is it prohibited by the Zoning Code.
Mr. Maymir asked is the Zoning Code available for anyone to read?
Mr. Osborn replied it is codified. In fact, you can go on-line to the Citys website and have access to an electronic copy of the Zoning Code.
Mr. Galster asked if the Property Maintenance Code affected by this.
Mr. Osborn replied this ordinance applies to the Zoning Code. The Property Maintenance Code already has a similar provision.
Mr. Galster said I brought it up because I wanted to clarify that for Property Maintenance, the process is that you get a notice that you are in violation and you are given a chance to fix the problem. If you dont fix the violation, then it would be your first offense. Then if you have a second violation that you dont address, then this comes into play. If you want to do a construction project at your house, most people would check to see if a permit is needed.
Mr. Danbury said had we had this in place we might not have had to purchase that property a year ago. I dont like government coming in and telling you you cant do this or that, but then again we do have rules and regulations. We try to maintain everything.
Mr. Galster said it is the responsibility of City government to make sure property values are protected. If we have a resident who is constantly violating the Property Maintenance or Zoning Code, it shouldnt cost me as a neighbor. There is a certain standard you should have to adhere to. The Property Maintenance Code is pretty fair. It gives reasonable time. If someone is not taking care of their property and it costs me $10,000 when I go to sell my house because they fail to maintain it in a proper way, then I think its a failure of this Council for allowing that to happen. We have to do whatever we have to do to go after those type properties who do not think your enjoyment of your house is important enough to take care of their properties.
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 35-2007 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 37-2007 REPEALING PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE SECTION 155.073 IN ITS ENTIRETY AND ADOPTING A NEW SECTION 155.073 OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AFFECTING MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY REGULATIONS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this is another in a series of ordinances that we are doing to try to increase our abilities to deal with properties that may be falling into blighted conditions. There is an overcrowding situation on some properties. We have seen houses where there have been maybe ten to twelve people occupying which is twice the number the house is designed to accommodate. In the code we have always had there must be at least forty square feet of bedroom space for every person occupying the home. The problem is it is hard to tell in some of these homes how many bedrooms they have. The first change we have recommended is that in addition to the requirement for bedroom space, that we have a total living area space for a residence. That total living area space would be used in a table to calculate how many adults could live in that residence. We are also recommending increasing the bedroom requirement from forty square feet to fifty square feet per person because that is the current standard in the International Property Maintenance Code and we feel again that this is more consistent with public health, safety and welfare. We would ask that Council favorably consider this change to the Property Maintenance Code.
Mr. Galster said in the first table we have limits based on the size of the entire dwelling unit. Would you count a garage only if it has been converted to living space with a proper variance?
Mr. Osborn replied it would not be counted as living space unless it had been converted to living space.
Mr. Galster said we would have a record of those on file with variances for that, right?
Mr. Osborn responded we would have a file on those who sought a variance and did it legally.
Mr. Danbury asked how can we enforce this because there are a lot of people who would be cited if they failed the code. This is the one issue I hear a lot of residents are really upset about. We see in certain areas five and six vehicles driving up there. How can we legally go in there and check?
Mr. Osborn said another element we are working on that we want to bring before Council is the introduction of a licensing process for rental properties. Most of the properties we see where we are having this problem are rental properties. We will have a requirement that rental properties be licensed on an annual basis and part of that licensing process will be an inspection of property and affidavit from the property owner as to how many people reside in there. Im sure there will be other facets that Im not familiar with but I do know that the licensing process should give us a real opportunity because that puts us inside the home to see how its being occupied.
Mr. Danbury asked could we make unannounced inspections?
Mr. Osborn replied I dont know. I can just tell you the parameters of what I understand well be able to do. Well have to wait for Mr. McErlane to come before you and make a report.
Mr. Vanover said this is new to us but it is not new to other cities in the country. I had a friend in the City of New York thirty years ago and you would see the apartments listed in the newspaper as legal and illegal basement apartments because they had to obtain a license. We only have to look back to the spring to the fire in NYC that killed ten or twelve people and six or seven of them were children and they were packed into an apartment illegally. I dont want the government in my back pocket but there is a duty we owe to our citizens that has to be upheld. We have to step in and protect the investment of our neighbors and our other residents.
Mr. Galster stated the old Zoning Code used to define family. That got thrown out by the Supreme Court. Our last version was based on the bedroom size and so many per square feet of bedroom space but that was hard to prove. This is just adding another area we can check.
Ordinance 37-2007 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 38-2007 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO FILE A DRUG ABUSE RESISTANCE EDUCATION (DARE) GRANTS PROGRAM APPLICATION AND TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL, MARK DANN, TO CONTINUE A DARE PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this grant will provide fifty percent of the DARE officers salary during the nine months school year. Last year we received $18,462 under this grant. This year we are applying for $19,181. We are before you this evening with an emergency clause because the application has to be submitted by August 10 and we dont meet again until August 15.
Ordinance 38-2007 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 39- 2007 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ACCEPT A PERMANENT HIGHWAY EASEMENT AND TRAFFIC CONTROL EASEMENT LOCATED ON A SECTION OF EAST KEMPER ROAD AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY (THOR GALLERY)
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Ordinance 40-2007 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 40-2007 ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH MT. PLEASANT BLACKTOPPING FOR THE 2007 STREET PROGRAM (AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY)
Mr. Wilson said on the 2007 street program bid on July 12, I assume the bid total includes the alternate.
Mr. Osborn stated yes, it does. Also, we need the emergency clause added because of the time line to enter into the contract.
Mr. Danbury made a motion to add the emergency clause and Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury asked what did we budget for this?
Mr. Osborn replied we budgeted closer to $250,000. This work is for repaving the parking lots at the Police and Fire Departments and adding a sidewalk on Northland Boulevard from Olde Gate Drive to Springfield Pike. We have a separate project which is the parking lot at Church Street. Thats under this same line item but we are treating it as a separate project.
Mr. Galster stated I am familiar with every bidders name on the list except this one.
Mr. Madl said they did repaving work on the Observatory subdivision and Public Works has noted to us that they are pretty happy with that work. Theyve also done several Forest Park street programs and most recently they did the paving for Springdale Elementary.
Mr. Vanover said this is a long-term company based in Fairfield, Ohio. They are doing work on the streets in Wyoming.
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 40-2007 passed with six affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. R13-2007 APPOINTING ROSE FEHR AS A MEMBER OF THE TAX REVIEW BOARD
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mrs. McNear said I thought we did this earlier this year.
Mr. Knox stated everyone thought we had done this and we did discuss it but no action was taken. Therefore, we need this to be able to have her continue in this position. Mr. Schneider said since no one had replaced her she could continue to serve so any action she took during the intervening period is proper and legal, but wed like to straighten this out now. We are approving this retroactive to that date.
Resolution R13-2007 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury said the director said the Springdale night at the Reds was one of the biggest turnouts for a city. They sent me a picture of the scoreboard that say The Reds welcome the City of Springdale. Everyone can have one. The Mayor and I were talking to the director and we hope to do it again next year.
Mr. Knox said we have an application for a change in the liquor license from Su Casa to Blue Agave Mexican Restaurant. There were no objections.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
City garage sale - August 11
Planning Commission - August 14
Board of Zoning Appeals - August 21
Cruise in - August 25
Taste of Springdale - September 15
Mr. Vanover announced he would be absent from the next meeting.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT - none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council
City of Springdale Council
July 18 2007