President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on December 3, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
Mr. Knox read a letter addressed to Cecil Osborn, "This is to advise you that cable customers will receive notification of price changes in some of our cable service on December 1, 2003. The new prices will go into effect January 1, 2004 and will result in an increase in the cost of some services. Basic service will change from $9.69 to $9.51. The standard tier services will change from $28.88 to $31.15 per month. The cost for equipment is based on a nationwide average of all Time Warner cable systems. The cost of the terminal unit will change form $6.95 to &.95. Pam McDonald, Director of Government and Education Service Affairs."
The second letter is from Cinergy addressed to Doyle Webster: "Dear Mayor Webster. This letter is to inform you that the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company will file an application for an increase in rates with the Public Utility Commission of Ohio in December 2003. The application will propose an increase in rates of approximately $6.8 million for Ryder AMRP (Accelerated Main Replacement Program) for CG&Eís gas distribution to be effective May 2004. This increase will result in an additional charge of $1 per month for residential customers and represents an increase in CG&Eís gas rates of approximately 1.4%. Under its main accelerated replacement program, CG&E is installing plastic mains and service lines through replacing cast iron and bare steel mains throughout the service territory in an accelerated time period. These mains were aging and some date back to circa 1873 and are much less reliable than plastic pipe. Gregory C. Fike, President of Cinergy"
Mr. Knox stated the third communication is addressed to Mr. Knox: "Dear Mr. Knox: Please read this letter at the next City Council meeting. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation personally and publicly to Mayor Doyle Webster for his assistance in resolving a recent problem in our neighborhood. All too often the public hears only negative reports about our elected representatives, and not the good things they do. The Cinergy Company recently hired a construction company to install a new natural main on West Kemper Road. The construction company opened the roadway in five locations from Kenn Road to Greenlawn Avenue, placed the pipe in the trench and covered the trench with large metal plates. The company then left the area to work on other parts of the job. Twenty-four hours a day for more than a week vehicles crossed over these plates as they drove down Kemper Road. The noise caused by the vehicles crossing these plates sounded like explosions going off. Sleeping was impossible. After talking with various neighboring residents I met with Mayor Webster and his staff to discuss the problem. Mayor Webster quickly checked into the problem and talked to Cinergy management officials numerous times. Within a day of that meeting the trenches were filled in and asphalt was placed in the roadway. Therefore, once again, peace and quite returned to Springdale. If Mayor Webster had not personally involved himself in solving the problem, Iím sure we would all still be hearing the clanging of those metal plates. I would hope that the Council and Administration would spend some time and devise a method that would more effectively control these utility companies. They come into Springdale, damage the streets and infrastructure, display little concern about the impact on residents and leave the City a mess when they are finished. We know we canít keep them out of the right-of-way but Iím sure we can control how they use it and the condition they leave it when they are finished. Thanks again, Mayor Webster. Ron Pitman"
Mayor Webster said I appreciate Mr. Pitman taking the time to write this. He also followed up with a phone call after we got the situation resolved. This is a situation where I didnít do this by myself. Without the efforts of Mr. Osborn, Mr. Butsch and Mr. Tim Green we would probably still be hearing the clanking. I was fortunate enough to run across someone at Cinergy who could make things happen. It worked out for the better. There is some merit to Mr. Pitmanís final paragraph in that we do need to try to control these utility companies a little better. This is the second time in the last three months that Iíve gotten a call from a resident. On Crescentville Road we knew they were going to do the project on the sanitary sewer but we thought they would do a better job of notifying the residents before they dug up their driveways and made a mess over there. We have some major projects coming up. We have a 36 inch water main that will come up through Glendale on SR 747 to Tri-County Parkway, across East Kemper Road to Chesterdale and north into Butler County. We are getting nothing out of this. It is strictly so the Water Company can sell water to Butler County. We will do what we can to try to control the utilities but itís a tough job.
ORDINANCE NO. 48-2003 "AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF CHAPTER 94: TAXATION OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mayor Webster asked we are not changing the frequency in which employers report their withholdings to the City, are we?
Mr. Knox replied no. In areas where there are changes we are trying to simplify it to make it easier for individuals and businesses to do it. Sometimes it makes it easier on the Tax Department also.
Mayor Webster said in the Valley Courier there was an article about Sharonvilleís earnings tax being up by 12.95%. I really got concerned about that because our earnings tax collection is down by 2.5%. Blue Ash is down. The whole area is down and hereís Sharonville with a 13% increase so I talked to Mayor Lovitt yesterday. That is strictly because they increased the rate in the beginning of 2002, and also changed the remittance from employers from quarterly to monthly.
Mr. Knox stated there are three things brought out in the ordinance itself. The original reason for doing this was because H.B. 95 did make some changes. There were some things that the Tax Department could see that could simplify things for businesses, residents and the Tax Department. The majority of these things were wordsmithing. You will also notice that we have added quite a few definitions.
ORDINANCE NO. 49-2003 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ACCEPT THE EASEMENT LOCATED AT THE INTERSECTION OF LAWNVIEW AVENUE AND SPRINGFIELD PIKE WITH CONDITIONS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Galster said earlier we had communication with Community Management about their donation of this property for the Veterans Memorial. Itís basically about forty feet of right-of-way and landscape easement that allows us to build the Veteranís Memorial the way we had envisioned it. The Veteranís Memorial Committee would like to express our thanks to Community Management for this donation.
Ordinance 49-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R16-2003 "RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN INCREASE IN INCOME TAX TO ONE AND ONE HALF PERCENT (1 Ĺ%) WHICH IS A RATE IN EXCESS OF ONE PERCENT (1%) PER ANNUM AS SET OUT IN OHIO REVISED CODE SECTION 718.01( C ) AND DIRECTING THAT THE INCREASE IN INCOME TAX BE SUBMITTED TO THE ELECTORS"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Wilson asked about the use of "special" election in the resolution.
Mr. Schneider checked the Code and confirmed that "special" election is the right terminology.
Resolution R16-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R26-2003 "APPOINTING ROSE FEHR AS A MEMBER OF THE TAX REVIEW BOARDí
Mrs. McNear explained Resolution R26-2003 was passed two days ago but she would like a motion to re-open it for reconsideration.
Mr. Galster made a motion to re-open the resolution and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mrs. McNear said there was a typo in the term ending date. It should be 2007 instead of 2006.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to amend and Mr. Squires seconded.
Resolution R26-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R27-2003 "APPOINTING AS A MEMBER OF CHARTER REVISION"
Mrs. McNear asked that we table this resolution until the next meeting. I did place phone calls to all five members of the Charter Revision Committee but have only spoken to two members. One is Beth Chavies and she has moved out of the City so she will be unable to return to this board.
Mr. Galster made a motion to table and Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 50-2003 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE MYERS Y. COOPER COMPANY AND THE BERGMAN GROUP FOR THE PURPOSE OF GRANTING AN EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO INVESTIGATE THE FEASIBILITY OF, AND TO NEGOTIATE FOR, THE REDEVELOPMENT OF REAL PROPERTY OWNED BY THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Randy Cooper, with Myers Y. Cooper Company, said I am here to answer any questions you may have.
Mrs. McNear said we were handed a packet just before this meeting so I donít think most of us have had a chance to look through it. Perhaps you could give us some highlights of what you have planned for the downtown area.
Mr. Cooper stated having spent my life primarily doing neighborhood retail type developments and then being introduced to this project by Larry Bergman, I investigated the neighborhood, the surrounding homes, the commercial areas surrounding this property, and recognized it as a great location for neighborhood retail. As the site plans indicate to you, we have positioned the buildings toward the back third of the property. We have tried to maintain a sensitivity to the neighborhood to the back by creating a reasonable buffer area. We are proposing some fencing and landscaping back there and no curb cuts from the commercial area so there is a barrier between the commercial activity and the neighborhood to the back. We will have curb cuts on Springfield Pike which actually exist with the existing streets. There will be a variety of buildings with different depths and sizes to accommodate the varying uses.
Mr. Osborn said I wanted to provide some introduction by indicating that the City sent out requests for proposals to 16 different developers. Myers Y. Cooper and the Bergman Group have partnered to bring a proposal to the City. It was the only one we received. A third company requested an extension. We gave them the extension but at the end of the period they were unable to submit their proposal so we closed the application process at that point. The site plan that is attached to the Cooper proposal is illustrated only. We already know that there are changes that we have discussed since this document was proposed. The feel of it is fairly consistent though. They have been very consistent to our desire to keep this focused as a village level type retail facility. We had the opportunity to tour a number of their properties unannounced. One that is fairly comparable to what we are talking about is Montgomery Square. Itís a good one to look at because it does abut a residential area. They have taken care to screen the residential area from commercial operation and the place was immaculate. Weíve made several checks with various jurisdictions where they have properties and everyone has given them good marks. We think that we are starting out with one entity that we know, the Bergman Group; and now Mr. Cooper, whose company comes to us with a great deal of experience and a positive track record. I think it is also a good point to make that they build, maintain and operate the properties. So far we have had a very good dialog with Randy Cooper and Larry Bergman. I think it would be hard for him to give you details as to what uses we would see come in but it would be local business type uses, maybe a restaurant or two. The corner of the property has a City easement for landscape and they are willing to work that into their site.
Mayor Webster said in our visit yesterday to the site on Montgomery Road, there are a big variety of uses there. Thatís they type of businesses we would like to see. Weíre very excited.
Mr. Osborn said we have solicited proposals for a preferred developer agreement. While the agreement is a little more complex than this, the arrangement is that the City has committed not to sell the properties that we own in the redevelopment area in Old Town for one year. During that period we have very limited obligations other than to provide the developer information on the site. A great deal of the work and all the expense will be on the side of the developer. They will develop the comprehensive plan for the site. There are certain timelines called out. They have to have a preliminary plan to us within 150 days. Once we agree to that plan, they will come forward with a preliminary plan that they believe is feasible. At that point we will see if it addresses our concerns about aesthetics and density. Once we pass that threshold, they will concentrate on other elements of this project including looking at acquisition of property. At the end of the twelve month period, hopefully they will have satisfied all the elements in the agreement. Then the City will sell the property to them for $700,000. They would then have all the property in hand that they need to do this development and they would go forward at that point.
Mr. Danbury said I think the one thing that most of our residents would like to have is a nice sit down restaurant. Do you anticipate that we may be able to get a Montgomery Inn type restaurant?
Mr. Cooper replied, to speculate, especially when you start mentioning names, is dangerous. We will be going after a sit-down restaurant very hard. In todayís retail climate what you are trying to create are attractions, reasons for people to come to an area to enjoy themselves. Dining out seems to be the trick right now. You really donít need anymore fast food restaurants in this neighborhood, not to say that we might not reluctantly end up doing something like that down the road, but our focus will be on a sit-down restaurant.
Ms. Pollitt said I am going to bring out one point for the viewing audience. On Exhibit B, item 3, it states that the City shall have no obligation to expend any funds in connection with the developersí feasibility study.
Mr. Cooper said this is a fact finding mission. We are going to do the studies, the architectural rendering, site plan, but we do need to reach accommodations with some other property owners in the community in order for this project to go forward.
Mr. Squires said with the term "build and maintain" I assume that you will rent this property and no one can buy it outright.
Mr. Cooper responded the agreement does not preclude us from selling. The only thing I ever sold since 1977 were CVS drug stores. They were single use, single entity buildings, very specialized and they did not fulfill my financial objectives. A multi-tenant, mixed use project like this creates very little risk because you can have various lease expiration dates, various uses, so that you will not be sitting there with one, big empty box.
Mr. Squires said at one time we had envisioned parking in the rear. I know that has been changed but for the benefit of the people watching this on television, can you explain that?
Mr. Cooper said a lot of planners thinking of an urban commercial corridor, would like to have the storefronts close to the street creating an old town appearance. In some communities it has kind of worked. Itís not that they have to park in the rear; they donít have any parking. I think the look that planners like is to put the building up front and park in the rear. I have objections to that. If I am a customer of a particular business, as I am driving down the road I want to know that I will be able to park before I pull in out of traffic so I want visible parking. If I was parking in the rear away from moving traffic I might have some security concerns. By putting parking in the rear you are actually putting it closer to the neighborhood, to the people living back there. I donít think that is as appropriate as using the building to buffer the people from the traffic.
Mayor Webster said this area is from Peach Street north to Kemper. It goes to Walnut Street west to Springfield Pike. This agreement would call for the City to vacate Elm Alley, Plum and Cherry Streets so that there is just one big parcel. There would be a couple of curb cuts along Springfield Pike.
Mr. Osborn stated there is no traffic access to the residential street to the rear. It is either to the front or the side streets. Concerning parking in the rear, we were proponents of this and tried for a year to find a developer who would agree with us. Mr. Schneider reminded me that the two business entities that will be executing this agreement will ultimately form a limited liability corporation for this project. Under the terms of the agreement we are giving them the right to assign this contract to that LLC. Item 4c is important and reads, "said plan shall include elevations and proposed screening of the project for residential area east of the project in sufficient detail so that the City may determine if this screening is adequate.
Ms. Pollitt said at such time that there will be some development there, would it be appropriate to have some type of residentsí meeting?
Mayor Webster replied absolutely. A lot of that will take place at Planning Commission but thereís no reason why we canít have a district meeting and hand deliver letters to every resident in Baldwin Subdivision.
Mr. Danbury asked are you planning to use the same architectural design here as you have done in the past? When we did the streetscape we went to the gaslight look. When we develop the streetscape in its finality we would like to have something to commemorate the fact that this was a stage coach line. Iím not saying you want to do a whole western thing but I wonder if you try to develop your projects to fit the character.
Mr. Cooper answered I donít have a specific architectural style. I do want something that will fit into the community. We are planning to do something that is a little more residential in feel because of the proximity to residents, yet it still has to function commercially. Weíll use residential building materials. Since Iím going to own it, I do like it to look nice.
Mr. Danbury said maybe we could share with you what our vision is.
Mayor Webster said Mr. Danbury, they are very much aware of our requirements in the downtown corridor.
Mr. Osborn added we are more than just a reviewing authority for a proposal for a site development with the owner of the property. Part of this agreement calls out our ability to reject the project if we donít like what they are doing. When we worked with UDF we went through a similar process. We found the particular architectural style in one of their buildings that we liked and said in our agreement that they would design it consistent with the architectural style of that particular location. I think we can do the same thing here. Weíve tried to impress upon, not just the Cooper folks, but everyone else weíve talked to, that this is a landmark site for Springdale because it will set the theme for other development that may occur elsewhere on Springfield Pike. It is our community image. Springfield Pike is what I think most residents consider to be the heart of the City, not Tri-County Mall. We are very happy with the mall and all the commercial development over there, but thatís not the community of Springdale.
Mr. Wilson raised the question of whether there would be a water feature.
Mr. Cooper replied that water features are hard to keep clean. Mr. Cooper said one of the earlier comments was that our properties were clean. Itís because we try to find the easiest to keep clean elements.
Mr. Danbury made a motion to add the emergency clause to Ordinance 50-2003 and Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 50-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said we received the results of the SR 747 grade separation bid opening this evening. The Stateís estimate was $9,440,000. The low bid was $8,347,349. This is the same company that had the project last year.
Mr. Osborn said the sanitary sewer collapse on Chesterdale Road will have to be replaced right down under the expressway and on the south side of the expressway as well.
Mr. Osborn stated we believe we are prepared to bring in a final change order and contract amendment for the Springfield Pike streetscape project. We request legislation at the next meeting. We are hoping to have the final change order and project amendment for East Kemper Road Phase II also at the next meeting.
Mr. Osborn said the City opened bids for HVAC maintenance on the City facilities. We received five bids and the lowest and best bid was from Premier Mechanical Services at $2,020.00 a month. Thatís a substantial increase from our last contract, which was $1,400, but the previous rate was $1,800. We received five bids and this was our most competitive bid. The company has a good work history with other major facilities and Mr. McErlane is recommending that we award the two year maintenance contract for the City facilities to Premier.
Mr. Osborn said I propose to bring forth an ordinance for our annual pay ordinance at the December 17th meeting. It will be before the Finance Committee on December 10th.
Mr. Osborn said we also need to do our final supplemental appropriation and transfer ordinance and a temporary appropriation ordinance for 2004.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - December 9
Board of Health - December 11, 2003
Board of Zoning Appeals - December 16
Finance Committee - December 10
Christmas lights judging - December 10-15
Christmas lights winners announced - December 17
Cinergy reception for elected officials - December 11, 2003
Municipal League Meeting - December 5
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 48-2003 - December 17
Change order for Springdale Pike Streetscape - December 17
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
East Kemper Road Phase II amendment - December 17
HVAC maintenance agreement - December 17
Annual pay ordinance - December 17
Final Appropriation and Transfer Ordinance - December 17
Temporary Appropriation Ordinance - December 17
Council adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council