President of Council Randy Danbury called Council to order on February 18, 1998 at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Danbury asked for a moment of silence for Lauren Williams who was the daughter of the police chief of Glendale, Mr. Delou Williams. Mr. Knox gave the invocation.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Galster, Manis, McNear, Pollitt, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury.
The minutes of February 4, 1998 were approved with 6 affirmative votes. Ms. Manis abstained.
Mayor Webster said there are several things we'd like to do this evening. I'd like to start by asking Mr. Buck Wilkins of the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Watch Committee to give a presentation.
Mr. Buck Wilkins of the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Watch said our organization was formed in 1995 with support and cooperation of Councilperson Tom Vanover. Our membership is closely screened by the Springdale Police Department. We currently have 38 members who reside in the Heritage Hill and Hunters Glen area. We meet on the third Thursday at 7:00 p.m. You are certainly invited and encouraged to attend any of our meetings. We cover a wide variety of topics and concerns of interest at these meetings and the Police Department provides us with the knowledge, crime information
and training for our group. Quite a few of our people walk on patrol each week devoting over 100 man-hours per month of extra eyes and ears in support of our top-notch professional police department. One of the early supporters of this community oriented policing effort was Patrolman Ron Brown, who as you know, recently retired from the Springdale Police Department after many years of devoted service. Ron coached and taught our group as to what our responsibilities should and shouldn't be as citizens and neighbors, and how quality crime prevention really works. Being aware, concerned and involved people, Ron Brown stressed to us that citizens can solve the neighborhood problems, often addressing issues and concerns that the police department can't resolve through their normal avenues. We can bring the neighborhood back to the neighborhood. Ron Brown was the catalyst for those early months and with the assistance of other police department personnel, Chief Freland, Captain Mike Laage, Sargent Rusty Teague and our current liaison, Sargent Mike Mathis and others within the department, we have become an active and viable part of Springdale. We're here to extend our appreciation in a public forum to Ron Brown through you, the Council, and we value the support that Mayor Webster and all of you on Council have demonstrated to us during our years of existence. Mr. Wilkins presented a certificate of outstanding service to Ron Brown.
Ron Brown said I appreciate this and I'm sure the Heritage Hill Block Watch will continue on and do a good job as they have in the past.
Mr. Vanover said I let Buck steal my thunder. A lot of times you would catch Ron and he would say he was just doing his job. That may have been the case but the fervor and dedication with which he did that job I personally appreciate. I enjoyed our liaison and Ron, I wish you the best.
Mayor Webster said when we started this program two years ago we had hopes that this would really take off in that neighborhood and we would build something we could transport to other areas of Springdale. Thanks to the efforts of our Police Department and also citizens like Mr. Wilkins and others, we have done that. I think we certainly see the need for having neighborhood watch groups strong and active in other parts of the City. I'm sure we will be knocking on your door and picking your brain to help us make other neighborhood watch groups as successful as yours.
Mayor Webster read a commendation regarding the Police Department.February 2, 1998 "Theodore Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Cincinnati Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and James Freland, Chief, Springdale Police Department, announced today the arrest by the FBI on Friday, January 30, 1998, of the defendant who is charged federally with bank fraud.
The defendant had been detained by Springdale Police Department officers after having been alerted by a Bank One official that the defendant was apparently attempting to perpetrate a bank fraud. The complaint charging the defendant of Dearborn, Michigan, alleges that after opening a Bank One checking account in the name of his employer on January 27, 1998, he deposited four checks totaling over $330,000.00 into that account. It has been determined that these four checks were stolen from his employer in Irving, Texas, and that the defendant was not an employee of that firm. It is further alleged that the defendant thereafter opened six new accounts at Fifth third Bank, and that he cashed two checks, one for $15,000.00; the other for $1,500.00.
The defendant appeared before United State Magistrate Judge Timothy Hogan on Friday, January 30, who ordered that the defendant be held pending a bond hearing now scheduled for Tuesday, February 3, 1998.
Mr. Jackson praised the quick-thinking of Bank One personnel and the work of the Springdale Police Department in identifying a potential bank fraud and acting upon their information.
Mr. Jackson cautioned that a complaint is only an allegation, and that guilt has not been proven. Maximum penalties for conviction of the federal bank fraud statute are 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1,000,000.00 fine.
Chief Freland said bank frauds and those types of crime actually count for much more monetary losses than bank robberies and other things that you see on TV. The Springdale Police Department handles a lot of those types of things. This was just representative of the type of work that the officers do every day. I'd like Lieutenant Butch Hafer and Sergeant Bill Fields to stand up. Lt. Hafer responded as a uniformed officer, obtained the information and it was followed up by Sergeant Fields. This individual had a long history of doing this type of scam all over the country and we were able to take him off the street when it happened here in Springdale. Even though we are a relatively small police department and some people may think we are minor league, the Springdale Police Department is major league. We handle a lot of investigations nationwide with DEA, FBI, Secret Service, that would really surprise you with the depth and range of investigations, not just writing citations at Tri-County. These two officers are representative of the type of work that we do.
Letter dated 25 January 1998 to Chief of Police- After church this morning, I went to visit a friend in Springdale. I got there during a domestic fight between she and her husband, which resulted in my instructing my granddaughter to call 911. This was at approximately one in the afternoon. Officer Greg French and Sgt. Mike Mathis were dispatched to the scene.
I am now writing to say a huge "thank you" to the officers. I have never been party to a more difficult situation, which was made easier only by the way in which these officers handled themselves. They both handled it with nothing less than professionalism, patience, and compassion.
My friend is deaf and terminally ill. One of the officers (I hope I'm not confusing who was who, but I believe it was Sgt. Mathis, communicated with my friend. He showed an enormous patience - even when she was making it difficult - and I am grateful for all that he did. I will not elaborate here on all that took place, but I do want them both to know how grateful I am for their being there.
I also want to thank the dispatcher who sent the officers. When my granddaughter attempted to place the call to 911 from within the house she was deliberately disconnected in an attempt to prevent her from summoning police. Because she was disconnected before virtually any information was given, I was afraid that no one would be sent. Yet, officers were there in a fairly short time. "Thank you".
If Officers French and Mathis are examples of the kind of officers Springdale has, you should be very proud. For the record, they are absolutely two of the finest police officers I have ever met. Please convey my thanks to them both. With Sincere Appreciation.
Mayor Webster said the two words that struck home with me when I read this were "domestic violence". We know about the tragedy in Cincinnati and I think this is probably one of the most volatile issues to which the police can respond.
Chief Freland asked Sergeant Mathis to stand up. Officer French is not in attendance. Domestic violence is something we deal with every day, every week. It goes from a wide range of a simple argument to felonious assault. Officers are empowered to use a lot of discretion. These officers used discretion. We have preferred arrest policy on domestic violence but that doesn't mean we use it all the time because arrest doesn't necessarily solve the problem. The officers could have made an arrest but it didn't help this individual's problem. The officers discussed it with the person and tried to resolve it without making a physical arrest. Domestic violence is a major problem in the United States and it's one of the most dangerous runs that a police officer can respond to. It's typical of what the officers handle every day and there are many instances like this where the officers use discretion where there's no fanfare and no arrest is made but it prevents a tragedy like that that occurred in Cincinnati and elsewhere.
Letter from Chief Freland dated February 3, 1998- I wish to recognize and bring to your attention an accomplishment recently achieved by Captain Michael E. Laage.
On January 28 of this year he graduated from the "Certified Law Enforcement Executive Program" (CLEE). This program is sponsored by the Ohio Association of Chief's of Police and the Ohio Law Enforcement Foundation. Captain Laage began this intensive program of study in December 1996 and completed all requirements in December 1997.
The program involved self-study and testing in eight primary areas; Ethics, Change Management, Interpersonal Skills, Team Building, Vision-Mission-Values, Strategic Planning, External Environment Management, and Resource Allocation and Utilization. Over the past year Captain Laage was permitted to go to Columbus and attend periodic one-day in residence lectures and study followed by written examinations. He was obviously successful in all examinations and assignments.
Captain Laage's achievement demonstrates a conscientious effort to improve his knowledge and skills for the direct benefit of the Springdale Police Department. He is now one of only 40 law enforcement officers within the State of Ohio with the CLEE designation. I wish to formally recognize and commend him for his diligent efforts. Please place this memorandum into Captain Laage's personnel file for future reference.
Chief Freland said Mike is one of the finest police officers I've ever worked with and he's an outstanding assistant police chief. He handles a lot of things every day. He's a true consummate professional. He daily works towards improving himself and the department. There is nothing he won't do for the Police Department or the City and he's an outstanding police officer and I've certainly appreciated his efforts and the City will benefit from his study this past year.
Mayor Webster read another letter.February 13, 1998 - It is with mixed emotions that I take this opportunity to write. Although I knew this day would come and I had planned for it during my entire career, it still is not an easy choice to make. Many different factors have led to this conclusion. I thoroughly discussed my decision with my wife and all agree it is the correct one under the circumstances. It is time to pass the torch to a newer and younger generation. Therefore, effective 2244 hours on Tuesday, March 3, 1998 I will retire from active duty with the Springdale Police Department. I spent nearly 26 1/2 years serving the community and now look forward to spending time with my family and following a new trail as I continue to my journey down the path of life. Respectfully submitted, Lieutenant Charles Harpin, Springdale Police Department
Mayor Webster said we knew this was going to happen but it doesn't make it any easier. In light of Lt. Harpin's impending departure, we would like to take this opportunity to announce some promotions in the Police Department. We have a sergeant who has requested to go back to a patrol officer and so that request was made in August/September of last year. The sergeant did agree to continue in his position until we can adequately test and certify someone to take his place. I am pleased to announce that we are able to do that. As of March 1, Officer Tom Wells will be the new sergeant on the Springdale Police Department.
Chief Freland said Tom has been with us since 1990. He holds an associate's degree in criminal justice and previously served with the Clermont County Sheriff's Office. He is also an expert in railroads and trains. There have been times when engines have been stopped on the tracks. He knows how to run the engines.
Mayor Webster said we have given the test for lieutenant to replace Lt. Harpin and Sergeant Gus A. Teague will be promoted to lieutenant effective March 15.
Chief Freland stated that Sergeant Teague has been with us over 22 years. He served admirably as one of our better investigators. He's been a sergeant for approximately four years. He runs our Police Explorer Program. He also is a firearms instructor assigned to our FATT system. He is always full of ideas on how to improve the Police Department and is very enthusiastic. He will do a fine job as a police lieutenant.
Officer Richard Neumann will be promoted to sergeant effective March 15, 1998. I think we all know Officer Neumann as the DARE officer.
Chief Freland said Rick is another hard act to follow. Rick has been with us for over six years and he has worked as the DARE officer for the past three. He does an excellent job. This year he started working on a new program we got involved in at the junior high school. He teaches every Thursday over there. He previously was with the Coast Guard as a non-commissioned officer.
Mayor Webster said I would like to publicly congratulate Officer Wells, Sergeant Teague and Officer Neumann on their promotions and wish them well in their new endeavors. We'd also like to introduce you to three new members of our Police Department. Rosalyn Hamilton joined our ranks as of November 3, 1997.
Chief Freland said she's one of the nicest ladies we've ever met. She's an absolute gem on the telephone when you talk to her. She holds a bachelor of science degree from U. C. and previously worked for the Hartford Insurance Company and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. She lives in Loveland with a daughter and she's absolutely doing a great job. She does one of the hardest jobs in the Police Department. She handles a lot of those irate people who come in and is able to handle them quite readily. We are thrilled to have her on board.
Chief Freland introduced John Towne who just began the Police Academy this past Monday. He is from Idaho originally and a graduate of the University of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and served as a marine deputy sheriff on the river. The most recent hire is Matthew McGee. Matt is scheduled to begin on March 1. He is on track to complete his degree in criminal justice in June 1999. He graduated from D. Russell Lee Basic Police Officer's Academy last September. He is currently employed as a police dispatcher and auxiliary police officer with the Village of Elmwood. He was also a loss prevention officer at Wal-Mart.
Mayor Webster administered the oath of office to these two officers. Mayor Webster said we heard three commendations covering a number of police officers. You saw what kind of new hires we have and the quality of the staff. I wish somebody could explain to me why, in your right mind, if you were the chief of this department, would you want to retire in May. Chief Freland will be retiring the first week of May.
Mr. Vanover said this is one of those evenings and activities we enjoy, and we realize how lucky we are. I've had personal first-hand involvement with our finest and they have done a bang-up job. Ron Brown dragged me out of Council one night after an emergency at home. Captain Laage has put in much time and effort into the neighborhood block watch. I am pleased about Rusty because I think for a while he ate, slept and breathed the block watch. I am pleased and proud to be associated with every one of these individuals.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
RULES AND LAWS - Ms. Manis said we are reviewing staff comments and hope to have something to report with Council the last meeting in March.
PUBLIC RELATIONS - no report
PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE - no report
PUBLIC WORKS - Mr. Vanover said there was a meeting January 29 to discuss the 1998 street program. The committee did request additional information. We are scheduled for a meeting tomorrow afternoon to follow up with that. A meeting was held February 12 and our reports and recommendations we hope to bring forth to Council at the March 4 meeting with a bid in late May and construction from June to September.
PUBLIC UTILITIES - no report
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS - Ms. Manis said tonight CDS is going to present the short term improvements for Kemper Road.
FINANCE COMMITTEE - Mr. Wilson reported there will be a meeting March 4. A public meeting will be held at 6 :30 p.m. in Council chambers.
PLANNING COMMISSION - Mr. Galster stated they met February 10. Enterprise Rent-a-Car, 169 Northland Boulevard presented a development plan approval for a proposed addition. That was approved 5-0.
The Wal-Mart garden center expansion, a year round outdoor facility with a molded cover over the top was approved 5-0.
Aslan Pack and Ship Services, 11780 Springfield Plaza requested approval of a sign 14'9" in length as opposed to the 14' that is required. There was a conditional use permit granted for that sign giving the cost to modify it for the actual length. The square footage was under what is allowed for the particular site. That was approved conditionally 5-0.
A record plat approval for Section 5 of Pine Garden Landominiums was approved 5-0.
There was a concept discussion of Tri-County Marketplace Phase II. Right now there are two new buildings going up with three tenants. Phase II involved putting a bridge across the creek and building another building. Originally we thought it would be a restaurant but it's going to be a retail type of establishment that would be between the creek and the ramp coming off I-275. That was given the go ahead.
The last item was revised elevations for Tri-County Marketplace Phase I. Duke wanted to change some of the façade and the makeup of the outside appearance of the two buildings going in. They wanted to eliminate some of the brick and some of the color combinations and go with a split face block. That was denied 5-0.
Ms. Manis asked is the Wal-Mart garden center in addition to what they have now?
Mr. Galster replied we previously approved a slight expansion that took up about 14 parking spaces. That was never built. This new plan will take 24 spaces to the side. Right now they have a seasonal area. This will be enlarged for year round.
Ms. Manis asked if the bridge being built at Tri-County Marketplace is a footbridge or drive over.
Mr. Galster replied it is a drive over with two lanes of traffic. There was concern about whether there would need to be foot traffic across the bridge because it's more destination retail. But it was just conceptual discussion.
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS - Mr. Wilson reported they met last night. Walker Pontiac GMC, 150 Northland Boulevard requested the placement of a grand opening sign for thirty days. There was no one in attendance representing Walker. I drove by their building on Tuesday afternoon and the sign was not up. I spoke with the new truck sales manager and he had no clue as to what was going on. I reminded him of the meeting and that someone from Walker should be there to represent the company. No one showed up. A motion to remove the item from the agenda was passed with 4 affirmative votes.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 169 Northland Boulevard, requested a variance to allow their wall sign to be 0 feet from the end of the building. They have a new concept where they have their large E on one corner, then Enterprise Rent-A-Car which is the lighted portion, then a banner that goes around. They were going to light the lower portion which is the white portion all the way around. There was a discussion as to whether that total design was part of signage, and if it was, did it exceed the limits. After a lot of discussion including Mr. McErlane we decided it was just the large E and the Enterprise Rent-A-Car that was considered signage. That variance was passed with 4 affirmative votes.
There was a discussion about other variances that had been applied for over the last six months and not used. Mr. McErlane indicated that he had sent letters to them asking them to contact him indicating whether they wanted to request another variance. To date no one has responded. Probably next month Mr. McErlane would be asking the board to rescind the variances.
BOARD OF HEALTH - Ms. Pollitt stated they met February 12. Regulation R1-1998 is a regulation increasing the pool and spa fees. The City will now be charging $240 + a $50 state fee for the first pool and $120 + $32 state fee for the second pool license. These fees are comparable to Sharonville and the City of Cincinnati. We also reviewed R2-1998, an amendment of R1-1996. This will now include immunization against rabies for ferrets. This regulation was approved 4-0.
In the board of health packet is information from the District Advisory Council. We are currently receiving 32 cents per capita which is about $3,200 from the state. This draft is to increase that to $4.00 per capita.
There was discussion about charging a license fee for tobacco retailers. Right now we don't have any control over someone selling tobacco products to a minor. If we charged a license fee we would have some control if we found out an establishment violated that law.
The state allows us to increase the vending fee by 1.7% this year. If we do not take this increase we will lose it. We can only take the increase for one year.
The board packet included an article on dog bites. The board asks that you review this as it relates to the electronic fencing issue that is currently under review.
Mayor Webster said the pool fees are for commercial pools only, not residential or government. On the tobacco issue, we can monitor stores but all we can do is report them to the FDA. We can't haul them into Mayor's Court or revoke a license. The state is giving us the authority to license anyone selling in the City. It would probably be a nominal fee, but they couldn't sell tobacco products without the license and if they violated that and were found guilty, we could suspend their license. I hope the state writes that better than they did the alcohol situation. We all are aware of what the City has to go through to revoke an alcohol permit.
The 1.7% increase in vending fees is the Computer Price Index for 1997. That nets us 66 cents. If we donít take it each year we can't get it.
Mr. Danbury asked if existing stores would be grandfathered on the tobacco license. Ms. Pollitt replied no, everyone would be required to be licensed.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION - no report
O-K-I - no report
MAYOR'S REPORT - Mayor Webster said the Street Maintenance Department reported the big snow was 18.7 inches. It was a mixture of dry and wet snow, sleet, and freezing rain. We did declare a snow emergency in the City from 7:00 a.m. February 4 until 2:00 February 6. I've gotten several e-mails and calls from residents complimenting Mr. Sears and his force for doing an absolutely fantastic job once again. We did get one resident who resides at the end of a cul-de-sac and we blocked his driveway. The job consumed 130 regular work hours, 232 1/2 overtime hours, 456 tons of salt and 1,806 gallons of calcium for a total cost of $23,710.66. Our guys do a fantastic job with the streets but it doesn't come without a cost. I think it is well worth it and I publicly commend Bob and his staff for doing another fantastic job.
Tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. we will have the second Mayor's Night In. If anyone wants to come up tomorrow night, be my guest.
CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR'S REPORT - Mr. Knox said the Hamilton County Development Commission will be holding their annual review of the tax abatements that are in force in the City on March 11. I will be representing the City there.
Mr. Knox continued I received in today's mail a letter from an attorney for Cost Plus which is one of the company's that is moving into a building on the old Swallen's property. They will be requesting a liquor license. The license will be transferred in from another area and the attorney has offered to come and talk to Council about it.
Mr. Knox said Ms. Lisa Hogeback is leaving the City as of Friday. She has accepted an offer with Fidelity to become a broker there. I sincerely hate to see her go but I wish her well. She's done a fine job while she was here.
Mayor Webster said on the liquor license, I think most of you remember Snooker's. They transferred a license in from another part of the state. I don't know how you fight Columbus. They pass a lot saying that if a City has used its allotment of permits, a business can transfer one in. The state has created a dumping ground in cities like Springdale that have all of their permits filled. I take great exception with what the state has done. I don't know if Council wants to have this attorney in but I suspect the efforts would be fruitless.
Mr. Knox said the attorney indicates that the state has been hearing complaints like this because they are requesting a letter from us saying whether we approve or not so apparently we are going to have more input than we had in the past.
ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT - Mr. Parham said we opened bids for a 1998 17.5 GVW dump truck that includes a salt sprayer and snow plow for the Parks and Recreation Department on February 9. We received three bids: 32 Ford Mercury with a base price of $41,652, no trade-in, delivery of 60-90 days and a warranty of 3 years/36,000 miles; Tri State Ford with a base price of $43,950, trade-in of $2,550 for a net price of $41,400, delivery of 180 days, warranty of 3 years/36,000 miles; McCluskey Chevrolet with a base price of $44,769, trade in of $3,000 for a net price of $41,769, delivery of 180-260 days, warranty of two years. We request legislation for the March 4 meeting with a recommendation at the same Council meeting.
The survey going out to the residents seeking comments on the expansion of the Community Center is currently being printed. It is scheduled to go out next Wednesday, February 25 and we're looking for a two week turn-around from the public in hopes of having comments back by March 9. Then we'll put that information together for a final report for Council. We have received only 112 pledges for the engraved bricks priced at $40 each out of a potential of 2,360 bricks. Instead of charging a flat fee of $40 we've decided on the following scale: 1 brick at $40; 3 or more bricks $30 each; and for 5 or more engraved bricks a price of $25 each. We will send an information card out with the Community Center survey for individuals to make their pledges. Unless we get more participation the project may not go forward.
Mayor Webster said to buy your tax deductible bricks.
Ms. Manis asked for a copy of the final survey that went to the publisher. As for the bricks, the pledges are nice but I still think you don't get a response from a mail out survey. I think if the bricks went for sale we'd sell a lot more than what's showing up right now.
Mayor Webster asked Ms. Manis, do we go ahead with the project on the hope that we sell the bricks and if we don't, the City picks up the tab, or do we wait until we sell the bricks to go ahead with the project.
Ms. Manis said I think you have to determine how much you're willing to spend and go with it. If you sell bricks and get some back, then it's a bonus.
Mayor Webster asked is Council ready to do that? If we want to see this come to fruition in 1998 we need to get moving on it. We have a pretty good cost estimate on the project of $153,000 if we put everything in there that we want to see in there. Do we use some of the tree fund to help off-set the costs? I don't think we would have to decide this very moment how we want to fund it.
Ms. Manis asked can we get a copy of the last memo that was sent out with details of the cost?
Mr. Danbury said let's try to decide on it the first week of April.
Mrs. McNear said Mr. Parham, your new aggressive marketing plan is so effective I am ready to increase my brick order and I think the determining order is the price.
Mr. Galster said in my conversations with people they understand the City wants to do the project. They want to see the extra money we are able to come up with instead of taking it off the City side. I think once the price of the bricks gets down into the $25 range we'll get a lot more response. People could they call their pledges in.
Mayor Webster responded the phone number is 346-5700. Just give the person who answers your name, address and phone number so we can correspond back to you when we decide to go with the project.
LAW DIRECTOR'S REPORT - no report
ENGINEER'S REPORT - Mr. Shuler said I want to comment on the work ongoing as far as acquiring the easement for the West Kemper storm sewer project. We tried a new procedure. We had an information meeting for the project back in January. We invited all of the residents in and had about 50% in attendance. Following that meeting we sent out to each resident a package of information that contained the easement we needed from them and how the project was going to affect their property. We are now following that up with phone calls and visits to each person to answer any questions. So far everybody we have called on has signed on the dotted line. I think the reason is because we took the time and effort to meet with them and explain the project with them.
Letter to City Council: "To thank you for your kindness and sympathy at a time when it was deeply appreciated. The Alexander family"
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
PRESENTATION ON EAST KEMPER ROAD CORRIDOR - CDS
Mr. Shuler said in January we had a meeting with Capital Improvements Committee to review the 1998 Capital Improvements program and those projects that were scheduled for this year. As part of that discussion one of the projects that is budgeted this year is the first project on Kemper Road that came out of the corridor study. At that time we also realized that we had not discussed with Council all the short term projects. Mr. Eisenmann from CDS has been to Council twice to review the study. In both cases he spent time with Council discussing the long term options on dealing with future traffic on Kemper Road but we never got into an explanation and any kind of discussion with Council on the short term improvements. We wanted to come into Council and have Mr. Eisenmann go through the short term recommendations and explain what they are and why they are important. At the same time we've asked Mr. Eisenmann to spend a minute reporting back to Council on a couple of questions that you asked him the last time he was here.
Mr. Eisenmann said I've given everyone a copy of the short term recommendation summary out of the original report. In addition to that there are a couple of diagrams on traffic conditions. These aren't of the same quality that are in the report. We looked at things in two lights, short term impact and long term impact. Short term is defined by certain developments that between our staff and the City staff we knew were going to occur. Those are Target Store, Vineyard Church development, Dave & Buster's, redevelopment of the McClellan's Lane area and the small Q-Lube facility that was under construction at the time the study was being done. Short term improvements are proposed to help mitigate the impact of those specific short term developments. There are five recommended short term improvements. The first is a connector drive between Copaz and Best Buy. The purpose is to provide a traffic signal access to the Best Buy parking lot once the temporary signal is eliminated. Another recommendation is the addition of a third eastbound through lane from S.R. 747 to Tri County Parkway and the third is a second left turn lane from westbound Kemper Road to southbound S.R. 747. Those are intended to improve the capacity of the S.R. 747/East Kemper Road intersection. The fourth recommendation is to add additional improvements to the intersection improvements that Target is required to construct at the Century Boulevard/S.R. 747 intersection. Those improvements are necessary to improve capacity and operation within that intersection and to assist movement through the Vineyard development and redevelopment of the area south of Kemper Road along Century Boulevard. The final recommendation had to do with the shuttle bus service for improved movement of people in the Tri County area during the holiday season.
We understand that the two improvements at the S.R. 747/Kemper Road intersection are in the Capital Improvements program and we're in the process of getting a contract together for that.
Ms. Manis asked what if there is not room at the corner to make two different lanes there?
Mr. Eisenmann said the way it is laid out, the first logical assumption was to do everything on the south side of the road but we started looking at the right-of-way impact of doing that. It became prohibitive. The plan that exists today is widening on both sides of the street and some lane shifts to accommodate what needs to be done. We've tried to balance the improvements to all four corners in moving curb lines in order to minimize the impact on any particular properties.
Ms. Manis asked would we be building the road between Copaz and Best Buy ourselves?
Mr. Shuler said when Best Buy came in they were informed that that signal where their drive comes out on Kemper is a temporary signal until Century Boulevard is pushed to the north and connected in Kemper Commons. At that time that signal would be removed and a barrier put in the center of Kemper so that both the drives from Roberds and Best Buy will be right turn in, right turn out. However, we also realized that it would be advantageous, because of the distribution of traffic, to the vehicles exiting Best Buy to have two options; Century Boulevard and the main entrance into the Kemper Commons area. Our recommendations are that there be an interconnect between those two private properties on private property to facilitate that movement of traffic. We don't believe the City should pay for that because it is to the benefit of that property owner but we are encouraging it.
Ms. Manis said I think we are pretty much at our max right now, or will be when all these other developments are filled. Did you consider the effect of the people moving north and eventually a mall there, and a decrease in our traffic here?
Mr. Eisenmann replied certainly that's possible. We tried to look at it from a proactive position as far as economic development and viability of the City. Most people will tell you that once growth stops stagnation sets in, so redevelopment of existing properties is very important to the economic health of the area. This is a major retail hub for the greater Cincinnati area and I think it's City's hope that Tri-County remain economically viable and a hub for greater Cincinnati.
Ms. Manis said but with what we have and availability of space, when it is filled out, this will be all we need.
Mr. Eisenmann responded remember, there is a list of short term developments we talked about. There is another whole list of additional developments that we looked at from the long term perspective. To say that this is all the growth you're going to see or this is all we are going to provide is not the way we see it. We think the Tri-County area is a destination and the retail and office community of greater Cincinnati also sees that and this a location they want to be in. I think that type of development will continue to occur.
Mr. Danbury asked if we do any of this widening, is that going to impact the parking lots? Will we be absorbing any of the parking lots? If we are expanding it out we are putting parking spaces closer together which would increase the likelihood of accidents within the parking lots.
Mr. Eisenmann said there may be some minor impact on the shopping center parking lot but it won't be significant. We will get into that in more detail when we get into the detail design. It may be that we lose spaces rather than compress spaces.
Mayor Webster said on the connector road between Copaz Drive and Tri- County Commons on the south side of Kemper we have created another lot. Do you know how big that area is and who owns it?
Mr. Shuler replied the majority of that land belongs to Copaz. I'm not sure that lot is far enough south of Kemper to create another development lot between that drive and Kemper. I believe it's more of a frontage road to allow a connection to the Copaz driveway fairly close to the intersection.
Mayor Webster said I asked that because if it's possible for that to be a site for future development, that may create incentive for the private sector to build that road. Could it be that close to Kemper or could it be farther south?
Mr. Shuler said it could be farther south; however, I think we would start getting into a grade problem.
Ms. Manis said we are doing this in phases. We're not doing the connector road between Best Buy and Copaz. At Century Boulevard we are not doing all of that ourselves. Do we have any idea how the closing of that intersection will affect the traffic flow?
Mr. Eisenmann stated we have looked at the closing of the intersection in relationship to through traffic on Kemper Road. We think it will improve the movement of traffic on Kemper Road because it will improve the spacing of the lights. Right now, the Kemper Commons and Commons Drive intersections are very close to each other and there is a real problem in coordination of the light and backups of one light stacking through the adjacent intersection. That's the primary reason why that intermediate intersection signal is being converted to right turn in, right turn out on both sides of the street.
Ms. Manis said I think it will be amazing what it does. That's why I wonder if we need all these lanes down here when it's closed.
Mr. Eisenmann replied the lanes are intended to improve and facilitate the turning movements through the intersection. There are no additional through lanes being proposed. The signal system should help coordinate the movement of traffic better for through movement. Turning movements will still be delayed because they won't be given the priorities that are given to the through movements. Each signal will operate more efficiently because we will be able to move more traffic in a shorter period of time with the additional lanes. Mr. Shuler mentioned the follow up on the at-grade railroad crossing. We do have a signficant issue with the railroad. In that area there are currently four tracks. The reason there are four tracks is two are through tracks and two are railroad yard storage areas. They park cars there overnight for extended periods of times and they store cars within that entire area between the Kemper Road overpass and the I-275 overpass. Because of the cars being parked there the at-grade crossing would be blocked unless that storage area can be eliminated. The railroad has indicated that that is something they really need and unless a facility could be provided at another location to replace that, they would not be able to discuss with us any further, an at-grade crossing in that area. The cost we talked about for an at-grade crossing was in the range of $700,000. That did not include the relocation of a storage yard or any facilities like that for the railroad.
Mr. Vanover asked have they thought of moving to the north between the Crescentville grade crossing and Mulhausser Road or are they waiting for us to write the check?
Mr. Eisenmann replied we have not pursued any location or anything else with them at this point in time. We were looking to see what reaction the City had to the initial phone conversation we had with them.
Mayor Webster said I am not a proponent of an at-grade crossing. We are lucky that we got some federal funding to eliminate the at-grade crossing immediately north of there. The project will take 15-20 years to complete. To go 1,000 yards down the road and think about putting another at-grade crossing I think a lot of people are going to suggest we have our heads examined. If you go to the railroad crossing at Kemper and put two additional lanes on the bridge to the north, pick up the Tri-County ring road behind Sears, make a big u-turn there and tie it back in to Kemper Commons Circle, then you effectively move the traffic from one shopping complex to the other and you have kept it off of Kemper Road. It may be cost prohibitive. We may never get the railroad bridge expanded but I think it would be a safe solution to our problem.
Mr. Danbury said I'm not saying it's a bad idea but the only problem I see is that intersection between Sears and as you are coming on Tri-County Parkway.
Mayor Webster responded you cannot get on this ring road from Kemper Road. You can only get on the Tri-County ring road if you are on the Tri-County ring road or Kemper Commons Circle.
Mr. Danbury said Mr. Shuler, when the developers developed the original area for Best Buy and Dick's they threw out some ideas and talked about putting a second bridge extending Tri-County Parkway behind the Levitz location to continue on to Century Boulevard. It was my understanding that they were going to absorb the cost of this. Do you think they would do so?
Mr. Shuler responded I don't remember any commitment on their part. The position we have taken in this study is that that connection from Best Buy over through Copaz to that signal is to their direct benefit and that's why we really suggested it as an improvement that would be beneficial but we also felt it was something Best Buy should pursue with Copaz. We could help them with that but we were looking for them to do it with Copaz.
ORDINANCE NO. 8-1998 "ACCEPTING DEDICATION OF THE COMMONS DRIVE EXTENSION, AND THE PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS CONTAINED THEREIN, RELEASING THE PERFORMANCE BOND AND ESTABLISHING A MAINTENANCE BOND"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Shuler said at the last meeting there was a question as to exactly what section of Kemper Commons Drive this is. It is the last section on Commons Drive on the east side of the development, east of Roberds and west of Champion.
Ordinance 8-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 10-1998 "AUTHORIZING CDS ASSOCIATES, INC. TO PROCEED WITH THE SURVEYING AND ENGINEERING WORK NECESSARY FOR THE PUBLIC WORKS FACILITY EXPANSION AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded. Ordinance 10-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE 11-1998 "ACCEPTING DEDICATION OF THE MAPLE KNOLL VILLAGE FRONTAGE, AND THE PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS CONTAINED THEREIN, AND RELEASING THE PERFORMANCE BOND"
Mr. Shuler said we brought a copy of the dedication plat that Maple Knoll has signed. This began two years ago when we were doing that sidewalk work around Rt. 4. We contacted Maple Knoll to discuss with them the possibility of donation of right-of-way for the sidewalk we were putting in. This is an extended amount of frontage and having this right-of-way dedicated to the City will be a great benefit to us in the future when we want to proceed with that project.
ORDINANCE NO. 12-1998 "ACCEPTING A PROPOSAL UNDER THE STATE ADMINISTRATIVE PURCHASING PROGRAM AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH OHIO TIMEKEEPING SYSTEMS, INC. FOR THE PURCHASE OF A VIDEO BADGING SYSTEM FOR USE AT THE SPRINGDALE COMMUNITY CENTER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. McNear seconded.
Ms. Manis asked was budgeted for in the budget and why is it an emergency?
Mr. Parham replied no, it was not in the budget. We would like to begin to purchase the equipment because, as Mr. Osborn's memo and his update on legislation indicated, we're going to use it for the Community Center for memberships and March is when the new memberships come onboard. Also, we are going to use it for employee ID's.
Ms. Pollitt asked about the life expectancy for the equipment.
Mr. Parham responded I can't tell you what the life expectancy is. We were told that it will last for a while and handle our needs for the Community Center for ID badges and for the future expansion of the Community Center. The cards themselves are of a thicker quality and probably will last 2-3 years more than what we currently use at the Community Center.
Ms. Pollitt asked what is our annual cost now for badging at the Community Center?
Mr. Parham answered I don't know but it can't be that much. All we're doing at that point is replacing the cards.
Mr. Wilson asked did we originally look at this on a smaller scale and secondly, is this something we have discussed before and I just missed?
Mr. Parham said when we first started talking about the time recording system we also considered it for access to a number of locations here in the Municipal Building. We would have the ability for employees to use a swipe card to key in as opposed to leaving those unlocked or using a normal key. The Community Center was originally looking at this as part of their budget for 1998 but because Mr. Osborn thought at that time that this was a part of the time recording system we had discussed before, took it out of the Community Center's budget. Now we're adding it back in to use for both purposes.
Mr. Wilson said so when we originally started looking at this it was a lot less than $12,400 and then we decided to incorporate it.
Mr. Parham replied I can't say it was less than $12,400 because we didn't have a price on it at that time. We were looking at it as part of the time recording system. That figure was not part of what Council approved.
Mr. Galster said this particular component has nothing to do with our actual time recording system that we've already purchased. It works hand in hand with the system but it doesn't record employees' time for payroll purchases.
Mr. Parham stated this is more for gaining access.
Mr. Wilson asked normally when we come up with expenditures like this, which is an addition to our budget, don't we normally go through Finance, Capital Improvements, Public Works, etc.? This is the first time I've heard of this. How did we put together an ordinance declaring an emergency without anybody else? In this case, it's only a $12,000 expenditure so Capital Improvements might not have had it on their budget, but certainly somewhere in the planning process we should be made aware of this before it becomes an emergency measure.
Mr. Parham replied if Council feels uncomfortable with this being an emergency, I think if we had a first reading tonight and a second reading at the next meeting, it would be fine. Two, I don't think each and every time that an expenditure exceeds the $10,000 limit, that we send it through a committee. There have been many times we have presented to Council without going through a committee. Three, we've purchased the access control mechanisms for the Community Center in the past. This is that same product. I also mentioned that this was an oversight on our part during the budget process where it was taken out of the Community Center's budget because it was assumed through our overall discussions when we talked about adding the time recording system, this was one of our internal administration discussions. It was nothing we had brought to Council at that point in time. I may have to check Mr. Osborn's previous memos. There may have been some mention in there but not much detail.
Mayor Webster said Council is right. The Administration has not done a good job of totally explaining this and I apologize for you seeing this with an emergency clause. I would certainly appreciate you following Mr. Parham's suggestion and consider this a first reading. Let's get Mr. Osborn back at the next meeting to thoroughly explain this. We're moving ahead with the time recording device. Now we are moving ahead with the Community Center and saw a need for this. We went ahead and did it. This should have been run by Council as a whole.
Mr. Wilson stated I can appreciate the urgency of it but I just wanted to be aware of what was going on before it was presented as an emergency measure. I don't have a problem with the dollar figure if it is to the City's advantage. Obviously, the Administration has seen that but I think before we vote on it, we need a little more information such as what is it going to do, how long will the card last? What will it cost for replacement cards? Is this the most up-to-date or will we have to look at replacing this system in a year or two?
Mr. Parham replied we can have that information to you at the next meeting.
Ms. Pollitt said I just wanted to make sure this would meet the need on our new expansion at the Community Center. Have we looked at any other community centers or municipalities using a similar system for the same purpose we are using it for?
Mr. Parham said we are using this not only for the future expansion of the Community Center but also to various locations here in the Municipal Building. If you have ever gone down to the employee break room, there is a door that goes to the Tax Department. That door is very seldom locked and in the day time it's unlocked because those employees would have to use a key to enter in and out of the Tax Department. We would like to put this panel on the entrance door that only allows employees access back to that area. Therefore, you don't get to the point of a possibility of a threat for those employees in the Tax Department.
Mayor Webster said in answer to your question on the community centers, we all went on the tour together. I don't think any of the three have the level of security that we have today. I think we want to make sure that we continue to provide that level. As Jim indicated to you, we have reaped enormous benefits from those cameras and I think we want to make sure we have those available on day one when we expand the Community Center. That thought process had a lot to do with this being ushered in here this evening.
Mr. Danbury said we use this type of system where I work. It is very efficient. I know at the Rec Center we lose a lot of badges getting in and out of the weight room. A lot of time people have to get someone from behind the desk to let them in or they take the last card and you have to prop the door open with a piece of carpet. It has a lot of advantages. Also if we have a question of vandalism in an area we know who was in there.
Mr. Galster said I don't see where we actually have the readers. I don't see a cost assigned for the bar code readers. When we come back with the full presentation we need to address where those monies are. Right now we can print a card that doesn't do anything.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to table Ordinance 12-1998. Mr. Galster seconded.
The motion to table passed with 7 affirmative votes.
Mr. Wilson asked will you get us information before the next meeting? Mr. Parham replied it will be in your packets.
ORDINANCE NO. 13-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH HIRLINGER MOTORS, INC. FOR THE PURCHASE OF A 1998 9,900 GVW PICKUP TRUCK WITH SALT SPREADER FOR USE BY THE PARKS DEPARTMENT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Ordinance 13-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 14-1998 "APPROVING THE REVISED PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN (PUD) OF PROPERTY COMMONLY KNOWN AS TRI-COUNTY COMMONS (MARS MUSIC STORE)"
A public hearing will be held March 4.
Mr. Galster said the main objection Planning Commission had and the reason it was denied was because of a signage issue. The general consensus of Planning Commission was that this was an extremely good use of this space.
Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Galster, have you or any member of Planning Commission had any other discussion with the applicant, or are you aware of the Building Department or the City having a discussion with them? There was the issue of signage and I got the impression that MARS was not going to step down and Planning Commission had that 4-3 vote. Has anything changed?
Mr. Galster replied they have asked to have it brought before City Council. We have not heard of any revision. We have come up with a couple of different drawings that are trying to show the signage that they proposed and a little more of a real life perspective so we'd get a feel for it. We're trying to get to scale, site line drawings to help us evaluate that. Planning Commission has not seen any of that documentation officially yet.
Mr. Wilson said so they are going to come before Council before Planning and try to get us to accept their proposal without you getting a second shot at it.
Mr. Galster said if Council does approve it, it's still going to go back to Planning Commission for final approval and they will have to satisfy Planning Commission or it would not be built.
Mayor Webster said if it goes back to Planning Commission and if either of you Council members on Planning deem necessary it could be brought to Council.
Mr. Galster said there would have to be a major change from what Planning Commission approved.
Ms. Pollitt asked if all companies have to go through all the procedures outlined in the Planning Commission minutes such as color, brick, etc. It seems like there was a lot of repetition through these pages.
Mr. Galster said every developer has an idea of what he/she wants to build. We give them a list of the information they need to bring into us. If, in fact, they are proposing something that doesn't meet the code, the Rt. 4 corridor study, etc. and it's a PUD then Planning Commission is addressing issues that would go through BZA. If we had the chance to do White Castle again I don't know that we would allow a white castle to be built there.
OLD BUSINESS - none
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Public Works February 19, 3:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Underground fences still outstanding
Right of Way vote next meeting
PUD public hearing next meeting
Purchase of a Parks Truck next meeting
Fireworks next meeting
Renew lease with Springdale Youth Boosters first reading next meeting
Annual contribution for Blue Chip first reading next meeting
RECAP OF LEGISLATION ITEMS REQUESTED
Mayor Webster asked if the underground fence issue is still in Rules and Laws.
In response to Mayor Webster, Ms. Manis replied we have gotten comments from staff on the underground fence issue. We hope to have discussion with Council by the second meeting in March.
Mr. Danbury asked do we want to consider drafting sample legislation to deal with the Springdale signage for the first meeting in April or do we want to make a decision on whether we will go forth and then decide? Could we have three different scenarios for that meeting?
Mr. Shuler replied yes, we need to review the information that has been submitted to Council and get another copy to you.
Council adjourned at 9:28 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council