Council was called to order on January 15, 1997 at 7:00 p.m. by President of Council Randy Danbury.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by the governmental body and those in attendance. The Invocation was given by Mr. Knox.
Roll call was taken by Mr. Knox. Present were Council members Boice, Galster, Manis, McNear, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury.
Mr. Danbury said there was a request for executive session to discuss economic developments. Mr. Osborn asked that discussion of a personnel matter be included and it will require action of Council when we return.
The minutes of January 2, 1997 were approved with 7 affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said Jim Burton is with us this evening to give you a presentation and update on what we've negotiated with GEEAA as far as adult recreational opportunities. We tried to keep Council up to date the best we could even though it has been an ongoing changing saga week after week after week. I think we have things pretty well nailed down. We're going to print with our annual Community Center brochure so Mr. Burton is here to give everybody an update as to where we are.
Jim Burton said I appreciate the opportunity to come before you and explain the
venture we've undertaken with GEEAA, better known as GE Park. I did put a packet in your mailboxes so I hope you got that on the way in. We'll work our way through that. Before we jump into the nuts and bolts of what we're doing over there I thought it would be beneficial to tell you how we got here and where we think we might be headed. This crept up on us. On Memorial Day the facility will have been open twenty-five years. I have been very fortunate and proud to have been there twenty of those twenty-five years. The facility has been well maintained but again, it is twenty-five years old and there are some preventative items that need to be taken of and this is part of the reason we are where we are. For example, we're in a playground renovation process that over the next three years, will cost $60,000. This is not just for aesthetics; it's for safety. We have an HVAC project at around $180,000. We have parking lot repairs over the next three years at $130,000. Those are budgeted items that I'm sure you have seen on the five year budget. We have a wish list. Our field lighting has been in the ground for twenty-five years. It is direct buried, not in conduit. The pool has been out there twenty-five years. I think it is in pretty good shape but those things aren't guaranteed. These are some of the reasons we went off into this venture. Combining these realities with the fact that our youth programs have been and are very strong, and this year we added third grade basketball which added four new teams, very simply we are running out of gym time for practice time and for open time. This is not a new phenomenon but it has grown increasing worse over the years. If you look at Attachment 1 in your packet you will see the numbers of teams we are trying to give practice and game times. We have twenty youth teams in basketball, eight in volleyball, fourteen adult volleyball teams and six basketball teams for a total of forty-eight teams. Before we come to you as a body and say we're out of gym time, build us a new gymnasium, we think there are steps we can do and that's one of the things we are trying to do right now. If you will take the opportunity to look at Attachment 2 at the 96/97 gym schedule from 5:00 p.m. on, you don't see many times where it says open. If you will look at our cooperative effort with GEEAA at Attachment 3 which would be next year's gym schedule, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings you will see open times at 9 and 10 p.m. on Tuesday; Wednesdays at 8, 9 and 10 p.m.; and Thursday from 7 p.m. on. By moving our adult volleyball and basketball programs to the GE facility, excluding our coed program on Sunday night which is as much a social aspect as anything else and very popular, we will create nine hours of open time and potentially eleven hours or more of practice time for our youth. In addition, Mr. Thompson has already been in touch with Heritage Hill Elementary and Springdale Elementary and is trying to get more hours in each of those facilities for next year which would create another twenty hours of practice time. We're also looking at starting games on Saturday morning as early as 8:00 because other facilities are already doing that. We feel that this cooperative effort will not only provide gym time but will also provide a higher quality of adult programming. Some of our volleyball and basketball teams are very good and I think the GE program offers a cadre of opportunities from beginners to very good. I think we can plug those teams in over there so it's a win-win situation. It's not just moving the adults out. I think it will open opportunities over there as well. It will open up some programs we have not be able to host because of lack of numbers; tag football, adult soccer programs, tennis lessons which we have had but they have waned in the past and obviously, golf lessons will be available there as well. I think it's important to know it's not just rooting out the adults to make room for the kids. I think many of you up there have participated. We have a closed community geographically and our numbers have dwindled over the years. Some of you used to participate two or three times a week but don't do that anymore. Those who still want to participate we want to give a quality program. Attachments 4 and 5 give you what will be in the brochure Mayor Webster spoke about. We hope to have that out by the first of February. Starting in the spring it would be adult soccer, football in the fall and then basketball and volleyball in the fall as well. If you have any questions I'll be glad to answer those. We are hoping to create opportunities for our teams. Softball is something that would not mesh. They run two sessions prior to our finishing one session. We will continue to have our softball programs in-house as we have for the twenty years I've been part of the program. GE has set aside 6 basketball and twelve volleyball slots. A team from here will get to participate in their programs at a member rate. To put a guest team in their basketball program would be $200. We will be able to put a team in for $150. Five members of that team will have to be residents and they will have to have a Community Center membership. The City's hope here is to subsidize that team the other $50 to GEEAA. We feel it's only fair that a certain amount of players on that team be Springdale residents and hold a Community Center membership. If you look at that entire attachment that is my best guess at what would be the City's responsibility to GEEAA. There is a $60 difference in their volleyball fees and ours and we would require that six people from the volleyball team be from Springdale and have Community Center membership. If someone chooses not to do that they can still get in there but we are not going to make the subsidy. In addition to the sports programs GEEAA will accept 100 applications for what they call associate passes. Those passes are $90 plus tax. If you go there and request application they would check back with our office to make sure this individual is a Springdale resident. This is something they are making available to the first 100, first come, first served residents of Springdale. This is a family pass and a lifetime pass. Once you have this pass you have the opportunity every year to renew that pass. It gives you the same benefits as the member cardholders have. For example, there is a slight difference in golf fees. The member fee for 18 holes is $9.50; associate pass is $10; and guest fee is $13. All the other facilities would be available as well, banquet hall, picnic grounds. There will be a lot of communication necessary between our office and the GEEAA office but I feel we can pull this off. Again, I want to emphasize that we are not just rooting out the adults for gym time. I think it will create opportunities we have not had here in the past and our adult programs are not quite as strong as they used to be.
Mayor Webster said Mr. Burton mentioned the first 100 people could buy an associate pass. That is over and above the Springdale residents who play on a sports team over there. If you play on a team over there you can buy a membership. Over and above those opportunities there will be another 100 passes reserved for the residents of Springdale.
Mr. Burton said by playing in a league over there you have the opportunity to purchase an associate pass. The plus side for the extra hundred passes are for those who may not be interested in team sports. Those are some of the reasons why we are where we are and why we are doing what we are doing. Over the past year there has been a lot of discussion. The facility is going into its twenty-fifth year. If you look around at some of our neighbors, gymnasium space, equipped exercise space and pools are some of the areas we have to look at. I think this cooperative effort will work and possibly allow us to do some other things in the future without major undertakings. A lot of people come through our facilities. We had prepared a report earlier in the year for the Mayor detailing all of our leagues, special events, etc. To our best guesstimate we have approximately 175,000 to 180,000 come through our facility over the year. In the six years since the equipped exercise area was opened we've had 60,000 entries alone for the equipped exercise. We have had 5,000 hours of racquetball played. Mr. Parham was with us last night and he can attest that parking was hard to find.
Ms. Manis asked on Attachment 6 with the teams and numbers listed, is that just your estimate of what you think we'd get. If we had two soccer teams who wanted to play will they be allowed to play.
Mr. Burton replied I maximized the volleyball and basketball teams. I just took a guess at soccer and tag football. The staff at the park did not hold us to any restrictions there. Also I filled in $100 for miscellaneous instructional fees. That's probably high. Golf lessons are $40 for members and $45 for guests. That's only a $5 differential. I hope we have but I doubt if we have that level of participation. Soccer has been strong here for twenty plus years and I'd be very surprised if there aren't teams that already travel to the Cincinnati leagues.
Ms. Manis said there are several ways to get an associate membership to GE Park. Is there any advantage to having a membership through Springdale?
Mr. Burton stated if you are on a team over there now you have that opportunity. One of the advantages of the extra 100 passes they have given us is that you don't have to be on a team.
Ms. Manis asked that we don't get any other special benefits being from Springdale?
Mr. Burton replied the biggest advantage is having the extra 100 available. I think at some point it maxes out. It's just nice that this window of opportunity has come open now. There was a time when we had 12 to 14 teams in the adult league on Thursday night. It's a change. If we have four or five teams we should provide for them.
Ms. Manis said I think it's really good. I've already made contact about soccer with some people. I know several people interested in the golf. But as I see it, it only frees up three hours of practice time in our gym before 9:00 when the kids will use it so I don't think we can stop looking at the possibility of a gym in the future. I do think it's a good opportunity for our adults but it's not a total solution.
Mr. Burton responded I can't say we'd never need an additional facility. I think there are a lot of things we need to look at. Your point is well taken. We try to be as flexible as possible. Some people may have to practice a little later than they have been used to. We had a team of 11/12 year old boys practicing last night at 9:00. We're trying to work with Heritage Hill Elementary and Springdale Elementary for three to four hours in each of those facilities. We could possibly come up with twenty hours that would make it better than what we have. In the south end of the gym we installed some lowering devices on the two side baskets. We're going to be doing the two baskets on the north end of the gym this year. Next year we will be able to use both ends of the gym. Whether it will be a long term fix I don't know.
Ms. Manis said in the past we never had third grade basketball. Now we do so we have four more teams using the practice time.
Mayor Webster said to follow up on one of Ms. Manis' points. There are several ways you can join GEEAA so if you can use some other avenue I would encourage you to do so so we can reserve the 100 passes for people who have no other avenue other than their Springdale residency.
Mr. Osborn said this agreement provides additional benefits to the community other than just another avenue for associate membership. If a person wants to participate in one of those teams they will not be required to have an associate membership but will still be able to participate at a member rate. That's where that subsidy comes in; where we will be covering that difference between a guest rate and a member rate.
Mr. Danbury said I used to play volleyball down there. A lot of people stopped playing because it wasn't as competitive and they started going to over venues. I feel with this program here you will find more and more people seeing that it is competitive. I see you have listed a potential for eight teams for men's and women's volleyball. If more and more people want to get in there, could they accommodate twenty adult teams?
Mr. Burton replied in working with Mr. Osborn, Mr. Parham, Mr. Gene Neff and his associate, Al Royce, we used those numbers we have now. At best it would probably be negotiable in the future. This was a foot in the door type of thing. I hope it's going to be very amicable and a win-win situation so I would hope so. You are probably correct. I'm not sure our worst team stacks up to their worst team. They have some good competition over there in both volleyball and basketball. For now these numbers are firm but I got the impression, Mr. Osborn, those are negotiable for the future.
Mr. Osborn said I would add that GEEAA wants to have continuity and they offer the opportunity to existing teams to have first priority on renewing the following year, which they should. They have made a commitment to us to accept the numbers of teams we have now and as the years go on, if we show more interest we will have maybe a first right of refusal. If a team drops out we'll be able to approach them about adding a team. We will not be displacing any teams that exist over there now. As vacancies are created that will give us the opportunity to expand the numbers.
Mr. Danbury said I understand. I'm just looking at this as our low point. If you look at the high point of the total numbers of participants, I would guess you are going to get more and more people interested in getting back into it. Who is going to administer everything between the two? Will it be a joint venture? Will residents sign up here or over there?
Mr. Burton replied there will be information at both locations. I'm sure we'll have some bugs to work through. If someone walks in over there and wants to purchase an associate pass their office will have to call our office so it will be a joint venture between our office and theirs. The paperwork will be available at both locations very shortly.
Mr. Danbury asked are you going to accept all the complaints or just give them all the complaints? Are we working on the structure of the leagues, etc.?
Mr. Burton responded this would be more like Knothole or Millcreek Valley basketball, or SAY soccer. We will pretty much be in their bailiwick. I don't see anything wrong with their structure now. I'm sure we'll be able to make suggestions but we'll serve as a conduit to assist our adults.
Ms. Manis asked if there will be any business memberships since we offer them at our center.
Mr. Burton replied that has not been in any of the mix we have talked about. That's an issue we have addressed a few times recently at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. That is in the metamorphosis stage. We do have a very limited number now.
Mr. Osborn said if the question is will any of our associate passes be used by businesses, no, that is not the case. As we have already indicated, you have to be a Springdale resident. There have to be at least five Springdale residents on a team, etc. We will not be passing through any non-residents for these associate memberships. Anyone can walk over there and get a membership but it's a different category membership with higher fees. If a Springdale non-resident business person wants to have a membership over there they can get one.
Mayor Webster said I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Burton and his staff, Gene Neff and the board of GEEAA, Mr. Osborn and Mr. Parham. They have done a lot of work to bring this to fruition. We have covered a lot of ground in nine months.
Mayor Webster continued with the Christmas awards. You folks really lit up our town. I was absolutely amazed when I went out December 19 and 20 and saw how many lights were displayed in this City. I think over time we're going to get more and more publicity for what we are doing here. Let me make a couple of disclaimers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you get an honorable mention and think you should have had first, I'm sorry. The second disclaimer I'd like to make is because there are people who will wonder why they didn't get an award. First and foremost you have to turn them on. We had several situations where last year people won awards and we went back this year expecting to see something just as good or better and it was dark. In some areas we even went back the second night and gave those people a second opportunity and it was still dark. Therefore, there are some familiar names that are missing and conversely, there are people on here this year who didn't have their lights turned on last year. So it works both ways. You guys did a fantastic job lighting up the City and I'm very proud of Springdale and what we have been able to do.
Mayor Webster and Mr. Danbury handed out the awards. The winners were:
AREA 1 Beacon and Oxford Hills - Kenn Rd. (north of I-275)
1st Place - Toler Family of 12065 Brookston Dr.
2nd Place - Lee Family of 808 Ashcroft Ct.
3rd Place - Kortanek Family of 860 Yorkhaven Rd.
Honorable Mention - Engelbert Family of 840 Summerfield Ln.
Honorable Mention - Knueven Family of 697 Cedarhill Dr.
Honorable Mention - Luncan Family of 12075 Bridgeport Ln.
Honorable Mention - Neyer Family of 12135 Bridgeport Ln.
Honorable Mention - Lux Family of 792 Clearfield Ln.
Honorable Mention - Svach Family of 866 Clearfield Ln.
AREA 2 Springdale Lake Dr - Ray Norrish Dr.
Glensprings Area (including the five cul-de-sacs)
1st Place - Compton Family of 11850 Fairsprings Ct.
2nd Place - Okum Family of 11985 Springdale Lake Dr.
3rd Place - Foster Family of 699 Glensprings Dr.
Honorable Mention - Steinke Family of 12195 Springdale Lake Dr.
Honorable Mention - Veldhuis Family of 12095 Springdale Lake Dr.
Honorable Mention - Hollon Family of 12040 Springdale Lake Dr.
AREA 3 Cloverdale Area, Smiley, Park, and Allen
West Kemper (west of Route 4) (north side)
Kenn Rd. (south of I-275) S.R. 4 (north of Kemper)
1st Place - Bosken Family of 681 Allen Ave.
2nd Place - Plum Family of 580 Cloverdale Ave.
3rd Place - Adams Family of 666 Allen Ave.
Honorable Mention - Singer Family of 693 Allen Ave.
Honorable Mention - Emerson Family of 696 Allen Ave.
Honorable Mention - Wolf Family of 462 Dimmick Ave.
Honorable Mention - Smith Family of 524 Cloverdale Ave.
AREA 4 Observatory Area, Grandin Area
Baldwin Subdivision - West Kemper (south side)
1st Place - Ohlhauser Family of 11487 Bernhart Ct.
2nd Place - Seiller Family of 553 Observatory Dr.
3rd Place - Sandford Family of 591 Observatory Dr.
Honorable Mention - Fenstermacher Family of 11493 Whallon Ct.
Honorable Mention - Audretch Family of 562 Grandin Ave.
Honorable Mention - Gay Family of 530 Observatory Dr.
AREA 5 Glenview Subdivision - Cameron Rd. Area
West Sharon Rd. - Olde Gate
1st Place - Fastnacht Family of 363 Cameron Rd.
2nd Place - Stacy Family of 375 Cameron Rd.
3rd Place - Warken Family of 361 Naylor Ct.
Honorable Mention - Turner Family of 370 Glensharon Rd.
Honorable Mention - Aden Family of 364 Glensharon Rd.
Honorable Mention - Greene Family of 479 Vista Glen
AREA 6 Springdale Terrace Subdivision
Royal Oaks Subdivision - Kemper (east of Route 4)
1st Place - Parrett Family of 196 Balsam Ct.
2nd Place - Carroll Family of 11718 Van Cleve Ave.
3rd Place - Salatowski Family of 11783 Van Cleve Ave.
Honorable Mention - Meyer Family of 11846 Ramsdale Ct.
Honorable Mention - Shteiwi Family of 11647 Lawnview Ave.
Honorable Mention - Owens Family of 105 Harter Ave.
Honorable Mention - Meyer / Vanover Family of 11817 Neuss Ave.
Honorable Mention - Nadaud Family of 11756 Neuss Ave.
Honorable Mention - Woelfel Family of 11708 Van Cleve Ave.
AREA 7 Heritage Hill Subdivision - McClellans Lane
East Crescentville Rd.
1st Place - Rish Family of 12122 Audie Ct.
2nd Place - Colegrove Family of 758 Ledro St.
3rd Place - Wolsing Family of 705 Castro Ln.
Honorable Mention - Waugh Family of 789 Ledro St.
Honorable Mention - Akers Family of 777 Castro Ln.
Honorable Mention - Hicsonomez Family of 12095 Cornavin Ct.
Honorable Mention - Schmidt Family of 1003 Pilgrim Place
Honorable Mention - Atkisson Family of 780 Ledro St.
Honorable Mention - Canterberry Family of 12010 Marwood Ln.
One resident made a suggestion that next year they give the addresses to the paper earlier so that those who are trying to beat others can see the competition.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
RULES AND LAWS - no report
PUBLIC RELATIONS - no report
PUBLIC HEALTH - no report
PUBLIC WORKS - Mr. Vanover said we are getting ready to take the 1997 street repair to bid. We are doing it in three formats. The first is the asphalt resurface program; the second is the concrete repair program and the third is the crack seal. The specs are being worked up right now. We are expecting to have those ready to go to the Street Department for their final perusal at the end of the month. We plan to advertise in late February with bid openings in mid March and projected completion is mid September.
PUBLIC UTILITIES - Mrs. McNear said I want to thank you for allowing me to read this 300-400 page manuscript. Currently Springdale residents pay for their basic telephone service including touch tone, $16.92 per month. There is a three step increase to the telephone bills. The first adjustment will be $19.25 per month which is $2.33, a 13.8% increase. The first anniversary, which is a floating date because they are not sure when the first adjustment will go into place, there will be an increase of up to $2.25 additional which would be a maximum of $21.50. The second anniversary we could have another $2.25 increase so that would be $23.75 maximum. Conversely, on the business side there will decreases. Currently one business line for basic service is $47.79. The first adjustment will be $41.25 for a 15.9% reduction in cost. The first and second anniversary prices are silent due to the fact that it will be a competitive situation and they don't want to give that information out in advance. It would be an unfair advantage to the competition. This is called Commitment 2000 and the reason they are doing this is to re-regulate the pricing for telephones. This is due to competition. Already Cincinnati Bell has had seven competitors express interest in bringing in local service to the Cincinnati area, Springdale being part of that. They are going to continue to hear this information. They are waiting for the FCC and PUCO to approve this. I will give you additional information as it comes down.
Mayor Webster said if Cincinnati Bell doesn't want competition they sure are displaying those wishes by raising the rates. The only thing that is going to drive the rates back down is for the seven competitors to get a franchise and be able to offer that kind of service.
Mrs. McNear said that will probably happen down the road once they have competitors in place. First they will probably go after the businesses. There will be more advertising for that. It will be more difficult to grab the individuals. I think there will be some adjustments down the road but I think that's quite a ways from now. In talking with the representative from Cincinnati Bell, I said so all of our ground is going to be torn up with already seven competitors wanting to bring their wires into the City. They said that Cincinnati Bell is required to allow all of these other competitors to use the same wiring so they will have to allow them to do that. There will be some fierce competition in the future. God bless America. They should have to have competition just like everyone else and I'd like to see a little competition for Cincinnati Bell.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS - Mr. Wilson said they will have a meeting on Thursday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the Municipal Building. After the meeting we will be bringing some legislation to Council at the first meeting in February.
FINANCE COMMITTEE - no report
PLANNING COMMITTEE - Mr. Galster said the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals had a workshop on January 4 and I want to take the opportunity to thank Bill McErlane of the Building Department and Ann McBride with Pflum, Klausmeier and Gerhum. We had a couple of speakers and it was completely informative. There were a couple of things we learned that I will bring up under New Business as far as swearing in that according to our legal advisor we probably need to look at.
The regular Planning Commission met on January 14, 1997. All members were present. The first item of business was the final plan approval of Sterling House at 11320 Springfield Pike. That was approved 7-0. We did improve the entrance and exit of that facility to spread out the curb cuts so we could allow no additional curb cuts if, in fact, something was developed on the north vacant part of that land.
Landco Development requested approval of rezoning of property at the northeast corner of Kenn Road and I-275 from public facilities to residential R-1D. That was denied by a vote of 4-3.
Under New Business we had concept discussion of a proposed Dave and Buster's to be located in Tri County Commons. This discussion was concept as far as moving this particular facility into the old Kroger building right next to Roberds Grand. They would occupy about one-third of what is left of that building. The applicants came in for conceptual discussion and the Planning Commission by a straw vote approved it 7-0 to give them some feel for how we felt on the issue. There are a couple of concerns and we asked them to be present tonight to give a little presentation under New Business to show you what they are proposing. In general what it will require is a change to the PUD on the property and we would like to get Council's conceptual input. We know that is a little uncommon but given the distance traveled and the timing of the particular project we thought that would be a good idea to give them some direction.
Vineyard Community Church requested final plan approval of a proposed office building at 11355 Century Circle East. That was approved 7-0.
BOARDING OF ZONING APPEALS - Mrs. Boice said BZA meets next week. I do have a few comments I would like to make in reference to the seminar that Mr. Galster had alluded to. The joint sessions of Planning and Board of Zoning Appeals met starting at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. We broke for lunch and then finished up around 1:30 p.m. As I got in the car and was driving home it was just a real moment of pride for me. I was so pleased. There are two Council members on Planning, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Galster and yes, you expect your Council members to be at something like that. Mrs. McNear and I are the Council representatives for BZA and again, as elected officials, we are expected to be there. That entire group comprised every single member of the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission. We are very visible because we are elected officials. You see us here, you see us in parades. We cut ribbons. We do all sorts of things. But behind us are a lot of people who make our jobs really easy. They are those people you hear us appoint or the Mayor appoints and they never really get that tribute. There are some of them in the audience tonight and whether they had been here or not I had intended to comment on this because it was a proud moment. It was five hours out of a Saturday. These people are appointed. They show up monthly for their meetings and I just thought it was a really prideful moment that every single member, no excuses made, was there and attentive. It was a good session and we all enjoyed it. The members on Planning Commission are Mr. Wilson, Mr. Galster from Council and Robert Seaman, Dave Okum, Jim Young, William Syfert and Richard Huddleston. The members of Board of Zoning Appeals are Mrs. McNear and me as Council representatives and Barbara Ewing, William Mitchell, James Squires, Thomas Schecker and Dave Okum, the liaison from Planning Commission. I guess we can count him twice. I just want to say to all of them a very sincere thank you and I just think the people in the City of Springdale need to know how hard these people work and how hard they represent their City and what a wonderful wonderful support they are to us elected officials.
BOARD OF HEALTH - Mr. Vanover reported they met last Thursday evening. Resolution 2-1996 which establishes the food service rates, was passed unanimously. I have to apologize as I don't have those rates ready for Council so I will have those in your mailboxes post haste. We are currently recruiting a part-time nurse. We had nineteen applications and even as we speak interviews are ongoing. We are hoping to be bringing out the name of the new part time nurse very soon.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION - no report
O-K-I - no report
MAYOR'S REPORT - Mayor Webster said I don't have any formal report but I did receive some very sad news today. Mr. Herbert Posey who lives at the corner of Greencastle and Hillgrove Avenue was killed in automobile accident last night. Mr. Posey was the first recipient of the Mayor's Award for landscaping. Also, two years in a row now he has finished in first place in his district. It's just very tragic. This follows another tragedy we had occur on Christmas Eve. One of our award winners, second or third place, the Warken family, are not with us this evening. They lost a daughter, Denise, who was a long term Springdale resident, in an automobile accident in Indiana. On behalf of the City I extend our sincere condolences to both of those families.
CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR - Mr. Knox stated I have one item I would like to mention. In last week's Suburban Press newspaper there was some information I would like to clarify slightly. It said that the Springdale budget had increased 17% compared with last year. It also said we had raised the amount of our budget compared with what we sent to Hamilton County in July. Actually I talked to Mr. Dygert about this to find out where he got his numbers and we found the root cause of the problem. He included some funds that had transfer funds in them with funds that did not have transfer funds so his numbers were a little bit off. The Springdale budget of 1997 increased 10.8% over 1996 and the numbers we submitted to Hamilton County did not change at all. Mr. Dygert and I have arranged to work more closely so this won't occur in the future.
ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT - Mr. Osborn said the bid opening for HVAC maintenance on the Municipal Building was January 3. We had five vendors. The low bidder was Julian Speer at $833 a month. Our current vendor and current rate is $1,395 a month. That current vendor also turned out to be our highest bidder at $1,517 a month. As you can see there is a tremendous spread in the rates. We took a look at the three low bidders. We have experience with all three of them, either through past contracts or a current contract on other buildings. We've elected to go with the low bidder, Julian Speer. The Julian Speer Company is a large HVAC company. We have checked out their references and find them to be satisfactory. We would like to enter into an agreement with them for the Municipal Building. I think it's also important to point out that even though we are seeing a dramatic difference in rates here, almost 100% difference in the cost between low bid and high bid, the City has an absolute right to cancel with thirty days notice without cause. If, for some reason we get into the agreement with Julian Speer and we find that we're not satisfied, we can terminate our agreement rather simply. It's our recommendation that we award the contract to Julian Speer and Ordinance 4-1997 is before you this evening awarding that contract.
The next two items are very good news. First of all, last Thursday of last week, Robert Sears, Superintendent of Public Works, advised me that we have been the recipients of a Recycle Ohio grant for $7,167 which will be used towards our recycle days, which you recall last year, we combined with a community yard sale. Last year we carried the full cost of the recycling ourselves. I think it was around $13,000. We have funding this coming year to cover what will be about half of our cost for the recycling element of that program. Also we received notice that the City has been awarded two projects under the Urban County Community Development Block Grant Program. You may recall, we submitted applications for approximately $266,000 in projects. Our two projects that are going to be funded include our first priority, the creek rechanneling at Heritage Hill School and Hunter's Glen Apartments. The amount awarded is $97,000. Our second project awarded is the sidewalk handicap access ramps at an amount of $10,000. We came out with $107,000 out of the program so it was sure worth the effort. We have to get into an engineering agreement with CDS for the design of the creek channelization and we will have to work out easement agreements with the school district and owners of Hunter's Glen.
The next item I have is the street lighting assessment project for the Glenview Subdivision. I sent you a memo dated 10 January 1997 relative to that project. It will involve the installation of twenty-eight 7,000 aluminum post top fixtures at a cost of $20,334. We have petitions in hand signed by a majority of the property owners in the Glenview Subdivision and on top of that we also have the commitment from Zaring which adds another four or five lots to that count. We will be sending a letter to the residents on January 17 advising them of our intention to proceed and what the final costs are going to be. You may recall from my memo that the final cost ended up to be $223 instead of $196. In talking to a representative of the Homeowners Association, when the petitions were circulated they advised the residents that that was an estimated number and that it could change, and in fact, it has. CG&E indicates that the change is a result of additional borings that they had not anticipated. As a result it would be my recommendation that we bring a resolution of necessity before City Council on February 19 and that we also bring forth the ordinance awarding the contract to CG&E for the work since that is in hand at this time. That will give the residents about thirty days if they have any questions to respond back to me or members of Council before we do the resolution of necessity.
The last item I have deals with the Urban Renewal Analysis report. You also found in your mail bins the report prepared by Ann McBride, our City Planner. It was also dated 10 January 1997. The study area involved is the four block area bordered by Orange, Walnut, Kemper and State Route 4. It is the finding of the study that the area qualifies under the ORC 725.01(B) for designation as an Urban Renewal District as a result of the fact that it does contain blighted conditions. I would request that we have this as an item of discussion under New Business so that we might have some dialog as to next steps in terms of this topic. I would like to turn the floor over to Mr. Parham who has some very good economic development information to report.
Mr. Parham reported during a conversation I had with Cory Van Buskirk with Avon earlier this morning, he informed me that Avon is in the process of relocating the telecommunications phase of their operation to the City of Springdale. Currently it is located in four separate locations. They will consolidate that to the plant here in Springdale which means over the next two years, by the fourth quarter of 1998 that will be an additional 300 jobs for the City. We're very pleased to have gotten that information this morning. That brings them to practically full capacity of that facility and brings them to just over 1,000 jobs there.
Mayor Webster said before they started the layoffs over there I'm told they had 1,200 to 1,300 employees so by the end of 1998 they will be up close to 1,000. It was quite a blow when that happened but the City certainly has been able to ride through that event and now Avon will have built that staff back up.
Mr. Danbury asked do we anticipate that revenue from that area will be consistent with what it was in 1991?
Mayor Webster replied I don't have any revenue estimates. If they are telecommunications type folks I'm sure they're not low paying jobs.
Ms. Manis asked Mr. Osborn, do you have an average amount of money that we spend on the HVAC a month?
Mr. Osborn responded that number fairly well covers the routine costs of our maintenance on this building. It's a turnkey type operation where they are responsible for all preventive maintenance costs, replacing belts, filters, etc. The only time we would have an additional charge would be if we have to replace a piece of equipment like a compressor that goes out, something of that nature or if we had a call in for an emergency after hours. In the four years since we've been in the building I think it has happened twice. It's really a packaged number, cradle to grave type monthly fee.
Ms. Manis said as far as the street lights, can the residents pay up front instead of being assessed?
Mr. Osborn replied absolutely. I think I may have mentioned that in the memo. We will give the residents the opportunity by billing them for their share of the cost. Should they choose not to pay that bill we will be filing the assessment with the County Auditor's Office and it will come out in the two semi annual tax bills in 1998.
Ms. Manis asked if we will handle the driveway aprons the same way? Will they have the opportunity to pay up front?
Mr. Osborn replied yes, but although I gave you a schedule that was optimistic in targeting an assessment for the two tax bills in 1998, we'll be hard pressed to make that schedule. It will probably be more likely that we're looking at an assessment starting in 1999 and going into 2000.
LAW DIRECTOR'S REPORT - no report
ENGINEER'S REPORT - no report
Letter to Cecil Osborn and Doyle Webster: "Dear Cecil and Doyle: We just wanted to drop a note to express our sincere appreciation to the Springdale Fire Department. As you may have heard on Sunday, January 12 one of our pipes burst causing more than 300 gallons of water to inundate our office. Fortunately some of us were in the office at the time which reduced our damage to some degree. We are writing, however, to express our sincere appreciation for the timely response of the Fire Department. They were extremely courteous, professional, compassionate and helpful at the time of our disaster. It is a soothing thought to us to be a part of the City of Springdale and protected by such a fine Fire Department. Please express our sincere appreciation to the appropriate people. Signed: Thomas U. Tood, MD; Diane D. Todd; Barry W. Webb, MD and Karen N. Webb."
The second communication comes from me personally. At 6:25 last Wednesday night an unfortunate circumstance happened to me where I was forced off the road on I-275. I ended up in my vehicle upside down. First of all I want to thank the drivers on the road at that time. Even though I was uninjured three of the drivers stopped. One with a cell phone called the emergency services and another very kind gentleman from Fairfield, Mr. Meek, was the only one whose name I got. At this time the personnel from Springdale arrived. Patrol Officer Pete Schulcz was the first person responding and later Patrol Officer Joe Warren. I can say now from personal experience these are extremely fine people. They are very good at their work. When there is an emergency they are the type of people you want to have around. The doctors use the words compassionate, thoughtful. All those words do apply to these folks. I hope that you personally don't need to call upon them but if you do, they're there and they're good. Also, I would like to compliment the EMTs, Melissa Kercheval and Tim Quinn and Fire Captain Frank Sutton and the personnel of Unit 2. I would like to compliment Chief Freland and Chief Posega for the training they have given their people. It really works. It's an edifying thing. I don't want to go through it again but it was a very interesting experience.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCE NO. 4-1997 "ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH JULIAN SPEER FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE HEATING, VENTILATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS LOCATED IN THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. Boice seconded.
Ordinance No. 4-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
OLD BUSINESS - none
Mr. Galster invited two gentlemen from Dave and Buster's to make a presentation.
Dave Corriveau said he and his partner, Buster Corley are co-founders of Dave and Buster's out of Dallas, Texas. We would like to open a Dave and Buster's in Springdale at Tri County Commons. It would be 60,000 square feet and be a $12 million investment. We're very careful about where we go and who we present to. We want to make sure folks know what we are doing and what we are all about. My partner knows all about Dave and Buster's because we have been around about 15 years now.
Buster Corley stated Dave and Buster's is in the restaurant and entertainment business. Our company was founded in 1982. Our company employees 3,000 people. We operate nine large restaurant and entertainment complexes in seven cities across the country. We have two stores in Dallas, Texas which is where we were founded. We are in Houston; Atlanta; Philadelphia; Chicago in two locations; Hollywood, Florida which is a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale and in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC. We are well received in all seven of these cities and we are well respected. We consider ourselves to be very good corporate neighbors and corporate citizens. We are about to open our tenth store in Ontario, California which will take us coast to coast. Our stores are 50,00 to 70,000 square feet. They are high quality in construction and execution, very high finish. We pride ourselves in a high quality product all the way around. Our company is publicly held and in 1997 it will have sales in excess of $100 million. We propose with this project to bring into your community 300 new jobs. We anticipate retail sales of $12 to $14 million with an annual payroll in excess of $4 million. We have a track record of creating jobs and paying lots of taxes. With your permission we'd like to show a brief, five minute video to give you a much better idea than I can of what the Dave and Buster's concept is all about.
The video was shown including news reports from other cities and comments from mayors and others. The entertainment includes blackjack just for fun, virtual reality and games of skill.
Mr. Corley said I hope that gives you some idea of the excitement of this concept. We hope to make Springdale one of those next cities. You may be wondering who Dave and Buster's guests are. Sixty percent of our guests are male, forty percent female. We did a very large survey of 58,000 interviews last year comprising all of our stores. We found that 65% of our guests are between the ages of 21 and 40. Ten percent of our business is done in the form of private parties, most of which are business or corporate functions. We do 300 to 400 per store each year. Fifty-nine percent of our guests drive between 5 and 25 miles in order to get to Dave and Buster's so we are obviously a strong regional draw. Over 17% of our guests came from over 75 miles away which tells us a good portion of our business takes the form of conventioneers and tourists. You have menus before you. We are open for lunch and dinner each day. We are seriously in the restaurant business. If we do Springdale I dare say we will be the biggest thing in this part of Ohio in the restaurant business.
Mr. Corriveau said our sales break down to $12 to $14 million per year. Forty-four percent of that would be amusements, 34% food and 22% beverages. We open three Dave and Busters per year. We are going to open a total of about 50 stores in the United States. In the greater Cincinnati area there will be only one and it will be special. The special spot we have proposed is the location next to Roberds, 60,000 square feet which is a good size for us. That will be a $12 million investment for us. It is more than Roberds spent on their whole 300,000 square feet. We have a very high quality finish, a lot of equipment, very professional in how we conduct business and we welcome you to contact any of the mayors and city council people from all other cities. We are very proud of the way we do business. We have a lot of great references. We do a big charity opening, big galas for the media and VIPs before we open. We normally do one big charity event per year as we do believe in giving something back to the community.
Mr. Galster said a lot of members of Planning Commission are here if they want to express their opinions themselves but I just wanted to give Council a feel for the general feeling of Planning Commission as far as where this project was heading. It was actually conceptually approved with a 7-0 vote. I think everybody would welcome this business into Springdale. The main concerns were signage. By the way we won't have a rotating sign but the signage proposal is a large quantity of signs. Like every other applicant once we go through preliminary and BZA, hopefully we can come to some understanding. Another concern was the building out of the parking lot creating retail space for the rest of that building. I think it was Mr. Okum who suggested we kind of phase that in, make sure we give them enough parking but if we put all the parking in there, then maybe we're going to be stuck with retail. Of course, that would be required to come before us again. We would ultimately have that decision as a modification to the PUD. I personally have the concern as to whether this parcel can handle the traffic. A couple of points of information. Their peak hours are not going to coincide with Tri County Mall which is letting out at 9 p.m. Their peak hours are pretty much from 10 and 11 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday but they would anticipate 700 vehicles at that time so the parking and the traffic is there. There was a comment from Ann McBride to share with you as well. The Dave and Buster's concept was discussed with Carl Holly, the AICP Planning Director from Marietta, Georgia where a similar facility has been located. The City of Marietta has been very pleased with the development and the cooperation of Dave and Buster's and Dave and Buster's was termed an excellent community citizen. I think there are some issues but I think in general the Springdale Planning Board felt that Springdale and this particular enterprise would make for a good marriage.
Mayor Webster said you indicate you are looking for a great city to put this restaurant in and we think you've found it. However, if this comes to fruition and you go to the next city are you going to say you are located in Springdale or Cincinnati?
Mr. Corriveau responded it would be Springdale, a suburb of Cincinnati. If you look at the brochure for Hollywood, it says Hollywood, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale.
Mrs. McNear asked where in the building would you be located? I know there are three portions left. Which section will you occupy?
Mr. Corriveau replied right next to Roberds.
Mr. Osborn said I did have the opportunity to see their brochure from their Bethesda location and it does say North Bethesda, Maryland and you have to look at the fine print to find out they're in the Washington DC area so I think they are sensitive to that issue. Early on Dave and Buster's came to the City to determine if anything they do would violate any local or state law in terms of gambling. As you saw they do have some games of chance but there is no payoff on those games. The participant buys $10,000 worth of chips for $5. You play until you run out of chips or money or don't want to play anymore but there is no prize. They do have games of skill like you would find in any arcade and those games do have a payoff in that you get a ticket that you can redeem for a prize. That's rather common and does not constitute any form of gambling. From our review there does not appear to be any conflict with any state law or local law and they have proven to us to be very concerned about making sure they don't violate any local laws. They have a very ambitious schedule which is another reason they are here this evening. They want to try to get started by April 1. That's pretty ambitious because we have to go through an amendment to the PUD. This has been determined to be a substantial deviation from the preliminary plan. As a result it was suggested by Mr. Wilson to have them come in this evening just to give you a feel for their concept, get a feel for what kind of reaction we're going to receive from Council over the issue of this type of use being at this location. As Mr. Galster pointed out there certainly are areas that need to be negotiated such as signage. There are areas that need to be looked at such as traffic management, etc. The primary reason for being here this evening is to try to get some reaction from Council so that these gentlemen have some sort of comfort level with making a rather major investment to be going through their detailed plan development for building permits at the same time they are going through their plan review at the zoning level. I think it was Mr. Wilson's idea to come here this evening. I don't think we really want to get into a debate or discussion as we did last night over details such as signage but I think the key things such as use and traffic would be appropriate for Council to try to give some insight on.
Ms. Manis said I wouldn't have a problem at all with the use. Like everyone else up here who has traveled Kemper Road in the day, traffic would be a concern. However, I know that after 8 or 9 p.m. it does pretty much slow to nothing over there. That would be my major concern.
Mr. Knox asked Buster the location of the restaurant in Little Rock and said I lived in Little Rock for fifteen years. I ate at your restaurant and can testify for the food being excellent and I must say the service was excellent because one of my daughters was one of your waitresses. I heartily approve of these gentlemen.
Mrs. Boice said I'd have about the same comments as Ms. Manis had. When they say possibly late in the evening 700 cars dumping out of there. We do have periods during the holiday season when the shopping center stores are staying open until 11 p.m. and later. I do see some possible nightmares there. I don't know if you will be doing any different configuration up there. That's all going to fall into the plans, dumping all that traffic out of there. Just on a normal day at lunch hour it's pretty rough in that area. It's a place I have learned to avoid. If you are doing lunch there traffic is an area you will have to look at very closely. I think it could be very troublesome.
Mr. Galster said right now one entrance is a temporary entrance and that will be shifted over. I think that will help some of that backup in that particular spot. It's not going to help dissipate all the traffic all the way down through Tri-County but once the permanent entrance is done and it is shifted to the right as it's actually drawn on our thoroughfare plan, then I think it will help tremendously.
Mr. Osborn said we are going to take a hard look at traffic and we will be looking at it on both the micro level in terms of this development and the macro level in terms of the entire corridor. I think we need to keep in mind that when this project was originally approved as a preliminary plan one of the elements at that time was a multi-story office building in the northwest corner. That no longer is a factor so there was some traffic load built into the review at that time. I don't know if that has already been consumed by Wal-Mart, Sam's, etc., but I think we will ask them to revise the traffic analysis for that site. Independent of that I've asked Mr. Shuler to submit a cost to prepare a report for analyzing that corridor east of S.R. 747 along Kemper Road, both as a baseline, what's happening right now, and what is the potential maximum growth we will see on that corridor with the remaining properties that are yet to be developed as well as blue sky some alternative access to that quadrant of the City. I think clearly we will be very concerned about traffic. It has become a very critical problem already. I think we have to look further than just that section of Kemper Road because to get there most people are going to be coming up S.R. 747 and making a left to go east on Kemper. We have to make sure we have the capacity on S.R. 747. But it's not unique or as a result specifically of this one user. We have to take in the total but certainly any additional development such as this has to be analyzed at the site level and at the infrastructure level and we will be doing that.
Mr. Danbury asked if this is currently zoned Office or Industrial.
Mr. Osborn replied it is currently zoned Planned United Development which means the Planning Commission can make whatever changes they want. It doesn't require a zone change per se. It will require an amendment to the PUD. We have a preliminary plan that has been approved and right now that site is shown as warehouse on the preliminary plan and we will have to change that to this type of use. We've had a dialog continuously with the folks from Kemper Associates and we've told them we do not want to see this whole building go retail. When Roberds came in we looked very skeptically at it until they could convince us that it was going to be a big box user but not a high density user in terms of turnover. Same thing with Dave and Buster's. If this were a retail operation we probably wouldn't have gotten this far with it. I think the one thing they have in their favor is their peak operating hours are somewhat off our otherwise peak hours. For the two remaining boxes you see there on the west end of the building, we made it very clear to Kemper Associates that we do not want to entertain retail use and they understand that. I think though, it would be premature of us to say it has to go warehouse. We never saw Roberds coming down the road and I think it is a well managed, well planned operation. I think Dave and Buster's has the potential to be a similar type development. While we're telling Kemper Associates no retail, I think we have to leave the door open for unique type developments such as this to come before us for evaluation.
Mr. Danbury said you said 700 cars is appealing to a lot of communities but it's not so appealing to us. However, something is going to go in there. If it is warehouse it could be trucks during the daytime. Something will go in there and it will generate traffic.
Mr. Osborn said we did have a refrigerated warehouse operation back in there that received approval through Planning Commission and we even issued bonds for them. That was going to generate 80 truck trips a day and the impact on traffic from a semi-trailer is certainly more than just 10 or 15 cars trying to get through a signal. We will have something back there and there will be an additional impact on the traffic load. We are trying to mix the use on this site so we have as diverse a traffic flow as we can receive.
Mr. Corley said all 700 cars would not move at once. It's not that we're going to let them all go at once or that they are all going to stay until closing.
Mr. Danbury said it seems like a lot but the advantage again as everyone has mentioned, is that you are staggering your peak times when our streets aren't as congested.
Mr. Vanover said I don't have a problem with the concept but traffic is a big concern. Mr. Osborn, my hat is off to you on your foresight and forethought. I would like to see Chesterdale included into that avenue. If I am coming in that end of Kemper Road I come Chesterdale, not S.R. 747. Traffic is the biggest problem I would have with the facility but I would rather have the personal vehicles than the semi-trailers. Kemper Road is heavy laden right now. With those short signals it's bedlam. We don't have room now for traffic to stack up. If you can sell me on the traffic you've sold me.
Mr. Wilson said the gentlemen are just here tonight to get a flavor from us as to whether we would be perceptive. We all are except they are going back to get there stuff together to bring back to Planning. The purpose of Planning Commission was to have these gentlemen talk to the seven Council members and I'm glad there are residents in the audience. They are trying to get that warm fuzzy feeling as to whether we are receptive to having them in our City. We gave them one leg up last night and they came back for the second leg so they can move on with their project.
Mr. Danbury said I did speak with Mr. Galster late last night. He said they are not looking for a firm commitment but these gentlemen are businessmen and if they want to proceed they will have to invest additional dollars. You always have the right to change your mind but please keep in mind they are looking for some kind of direction from us.
A resident from the audience asked why they chose Springdale.
Mr. Corriveau replied we like the Cincinnati area and Springdale is in a good geographic area. I -275 is very attractive for us because we believe most traffic will come from I-275.
A second resident stated I have eaten at the restaurant in Dallas. It looked great and traffic didn't seem to be a problem there.
Mr. Paul Henry said he has been a partner with Dave and Buster for eight years. I actually was here some twenty years ago. I co-founded TGI Friday's in 1971. I had the pleasure of coming before City Council back then. The timing issue is a real critical issue to us. That is why we are back tonight. We went to Minneapolis this morning intending to go home from there. We are here tonight because of the timing. This is critical. Assuming we get the warm fuzzy we are going to immediately tomorrow invest $250,000 on land. Planning last night graciously said they would assist us in that regard subject to warm fuzzies from you. I think we will probably have to have a specially called meeting of Planning before your next City Council meeting to get the issues resolved as relates to landscaping and signage so that Planning might be in a position to recommend Dave and Buster's to you. I understand you have to do a thirty day advertising. Hopefully at your March City Council meeting we could get approved. We would be running our plans through the City simultaneously with the intention of starting construction on April 1. There are a lot of logistics involved and that is why we are here tonight.
Mr. Danbury asked if there were any objections and none were given.
Ms. Manis said I just want to thank Mr. Wilson. This is a great idea and I wish maybe it would be done a little more often, that we get a jump on things before they come into us on a zoning change, etc. so we know what's going on.
Mrs. Boice said I realize they have expenses but what is done there stays with the City a long, long time.
Mr. Galster stated I understand not wanting to be under the gun and have the projects like this. Part of the reason we decided to do that is because we had another applicant who came before us through conceptual and preliminary plan and pretty much went through Planning Commission. From a Planning Commission standpoint they got a 7-0 vote. It came before Council for the change to the PUD and was pretty much shot down 7-0. We wanted to make sure we at least got the feeling from Council as to how their general feelings were before any of these many little things need to get worked out ahead of time.
Mrs. Boice said I understand exactly where you are coming from but when an applicant is in front of us and is stating we need to know if you are warm and fuzzy, to begin with warm and fuzzy has never been my style as we well know and to state they are going to spend $250,000. That's a lot of money. That kind of pressure is just very difficult for me to deal with until all the ducks are in a row. I love the concept but I don't like the feeling of we really need to know. I think we need more details.
Mr. Wilson said in conversation with Mr. Galster, we were concerned about the other applicant who came in, made a presentation that went over 7-0 and then came to us and we shot them down. In fact, the same two Council people, Mr. Galster and I were in favor of it initially but were part of the execution squad here. What bothered me was that there was one presentation at Planning and another here entirely different. Certain issues were not brought up at Planning and when they came to Council they were brought up, to some degree kind of arrogantly. That bothered me. In this situation these gentlemen gave us the same presentation last night. No changes. I thought it was important because if they came and gave us a different presentation it would be over. It would not be that second warm and fuzzy. It was the same presentation, the same enthusiasm, no changes. All they wanted to know was do you like us, guys, can we go forward? I think that's all they wanted. The fact that they are spending all this money shows that they are interested. But it's a business. If it falls, it falls. I'm not concerned about how much money they spend. Yes, it's an indication of their seriousness but that's not my concern. That's a business decision they make. All I wanted to accomplish by having them come here was that they give us the same presentation, no changes, what they were offering last night is the same thing they are offering now. If we as a Council feel comfortable with that, then they can proceed on.
Mr. Danbury said I don't like to be put under the gun but it's nice to be able to voice any kind of problems we have because we are thinking in a different mindset up here. In the situation they alluded to earlier with the Planning Commission where they voted 7-0 on a project, they looked at the land usage and the signage and water detention, the criteria an applicant needs to meet that criteria. We as Council people look at the economic and best use of the land, etc. I think Planning Commission did its job and especially Mr. Galster and Mr. Wilson. They were in a really awkward position. They voted in favor of it because it did meet the requirements but they voted against it because it did not necessarily meet the best usage of the land that we would intend it to. I don't want to be under the gun but I would rather tell them up front that yes, we like it or no, we don't. I'm not going to begrudge anybody if you change your mind when they come back again because you always have that option and that right. I think it's only fair to them to let them know I don't like having this usage here. My mindset is not that this is the best usage. If we tell them that tonight then they go to the next community.
Mr. Vanover said I agree with you. If somebody comes in and is going to bankroll a million dollar operation, so what. If it's not going to benefit the City and give the people who live here a benefit and a plus then I don't feel it's necessary and we shouldn't buckle to that.
Mrs. McNear said this past summer I did see a presentation of this Dave and Buster's because I was looking at the possibility of moving into another portion of that building. It looks very nice and is very attractive. I think it is something we can go forward and look at through our regular process but I'm really concerned about their aggressive time line. They want to come back here in three weeks with this plan. I'm concerned that we go through all the correct steps to do this and I don't think we need to bend the rules. Two hundred fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money but that's the cost of doing business. That's the risk that they take. Although I don't think we told them yes, we are going to approve this, I have doubts that they can make all this happen in three weeks.
Mr. Galster said I want to address those same issues. I'm confident in Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals that this project is going to be scrutinized as well if not better than any other project that will come through. Whether or not they have $250 million invested I don't care. It's either going to work or it's not going to work and I don't think any of those steps will be shortened. I do believe that Planning Commission has made an attempt to at least meet one extra time. Mrs. Boice brought up their commitment to the City but they'll meet an extra time to see what happens. If there is a punch list of items that aren't resolved then it's just not going to happen. I think Planning Commission is ready and able to make that kind of stand. I don't think that will be questioned.
Mrs. Boice said if we are going to extend this courtesy to one developer then when a smaller developer comes in with $250 invested we have to extend him the same courtesy.
Mr. Galster stated a lot of it will be based on how clean and how thorough their preliminary plan is. If they come through with a preliminary plan that is not complete, then they'll know two or three weeks from now that it's not going to happen on time.
Mrs. Boice said if they are such a big company and they have places here and places there, where have they been? Where were they last October, November?
Mr. Galster replied actually they had a facility that was planned to be built in 1997 that something happened to where all of a sudden one of those three openings was now available again. They are moving into an existing building and they are trying to stay on that schedule. That was the extenuating circumstance there.
Mr. Osborn said we have to observe the fact that they did not come in here pressuring us tonight. They came at our request. They were getting ready to get on a plane last night and fly to Minnesota and at our request they flew to Minnesota and came back today to be here. It's not like they hung around to accommodate us by being here tonight. They made a rather major effort to come back here this evening at our request. As far as providing any special consideration, guilty. Absolutely guilty. We have done it before and we will do it again. When we get a project that is investing $12 million in this City, guaranteed we will make every effort to get that investment brought to this jurisdiction. I can count many projects where that has happened, Tri County Mall being the cornerstone of that. I can't begin to tell you how many special meetings we had for Tri County Mall to get that to happen. I don't think you can compare a project like this to someone moving into a storefront of 500 square feet. This is a unique, large scale project. We have made efforts in the past to facilitate and expedite the review on those projects and we will continue to do that because we have to, to compete in the marketplace. We're not going to cut any corners. I think you know from our past record that we will be very judicious in reviewing all the critical issues such as traffic. But by golly, we're going to make every effort we can to bring 300 more jobs into this City and if that means extra meetings and extra time by the staff to get stuff done, we're going to do it. And honestly, that's not a change from anything we've been doing for twenty years.
Mr. Wilson said a lot of the comments I was going to make have already been made. We must understand that the onus of this aggressiveness is on them. They are investing the money. It may happen in three weeks. It may not happen. The onus is on them to make it happen and we'll just make ourselves available. As Mr. Osborn said, that's 300 jobs if we can help them make it happen in two years and it meets all the guidelines. I think they'll get a different reception from Planning from the standpoint that we are going to be scrutinizing everything. I mentioned to them last night, if they've got their act together and have all their ducks in a row, it won't be a problem. If there is a snag it is on them. It's going to be done right.
Mayor Webster said I just wanted to echo what Mr. Osborn said. I think, Mrs. Boice, we have done special things for big projects before. We are going to continue to do that. The only thing I can equate this to is if you go in a bank and open a $100 savings account, you are not going to talk to the president of the bank. But if you go in with a $2.5 million CD see if the door doesn't open. The same thing happens here, whether we want to believe it or not. If the developer wants to come in here, lay down $12 million and create 300 jobs, then we're going to jump through some hoops. We're not going to cut any corners but we're going to jump through some hoops. We want that business. We want those jobs.
Mr. Galster said from our Planning and BZA workshop there was a question we need to address on swearing in, not only in Planning Commission and BZA but also at Council. We had Mr. Kenworthy from Wood and Lamping do a presentation and he recommended that we do that. If, in fact, Council has the same opinion for this board, I would recommend we have the Law Director draw up some type of an opening blanket statement that we could do like the pledge of allegiance and maybe another written statement at the podium that they could sign when they sign in. That's the approach Planning Commission is going to take. We will modify our agendas to have that happen. If you had attended that meeting I believe you would agree that it is necessary for Council as well.
In response to Ms. Manis' question as to who would be sworn in, Mr. Galster said this is for anyone who comes in to speak. First of all, they might show a little more restraint. Everything they say is on the record and under oath.
Mrs. Boice asked if this was also for residents in the audience.
Mr. Galster replied I don't necessarily agree with Communications from the Audience being under oath. That's opinion. We were talking about swearing in all applicants who come before Planning Commission. Mr. Danbury asked if they raise their hands and Mr. Galster said yes, it would be a blanket swearing in of everyone in the audience to tell the truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God. He said it seems like it becomes more formal and more intimidating but I believe we need to make sure we are doing it right. We are acting in a judicial way.
Mr. Schneider said I believe the intent was to have a swearing in when anyone is giving testimony in support of or in opposition to a project. Most Planning Commission matters are of that nature. It's coming in, advocating a project and giving testimony to the board about that as opposed to people addressing the audience here. If someone is testifying on legislation we are considering, it would be of that nature. We may want to consider the same thing in that regard. I think Mr. Kenworthy's tone was, in essence, you have applicants advocating a position and you just want to put them on guard that they are giving sworn testimony. That's why he suggested most testimony before that body be considered as sworn testimony. It's up to the board if you want to do it or not. It's not required. I don't think it's appropriate to have everybody sworn in who appears before Council to take a position or hear a complaint. I believe that was the tone of his input as I understood. I wasn't there but that's what we had discussed.
Mr. Galster said thank you for that. You said it a lot better than I could have said it. Planning Commission would appreciate the drafting of that type of verbiage for our particular board and commission. I don't know if everybody on Council wants to consider it longer or whatever but there are certain situations in Council that the legal advisor was telling us, we're really not covered on. Maybe we don't have to do a blanket but maybe testimony on any particular piece of legislation we need to do it there.
Mr. Galster continued also coming from that same workshop, the conditional use permits actually require a public hearing even at Planning Commission. Notification will need to go out for conditional use permits at Planning Commission. I don't know whom I need to address that to to get those public notices out.
Mr. Knox stated I can see swearing in professional people who are speaking in their professional expertise. If the average citizen comes up here and says I'm for or against this, are we going to swear them in?
Mr. Schneider replied I think that is up to the body involved, whatever they choose to do. They are taking the position that anybody who is speaking in favor of or in opposition to a particular matter ought to be sworn. If they choose not to, that's fine.
Mr. Danbury said my personal feeling is as long as I am in this chair I want to encourage people to come up freely and talk freely. That's a tough situation and I applaud anyone who can do that. If anyone has the gall to come up and do that I take that as their being sworn in. I know what you are saying but as long as I'm here I'm not going to swear anybody in unless it's testimony. That's not something we've ever dealt with in the time I have been elected. There may be a time and place for it but I think the citizens should be able to speak as freely to us as possible. I'll take it that if they open their mouths they are sworn in.
Mrs. Boice said much of what you said I said the other day at the seminar. This does disturb me in many areas. Board of Zoning Appeals is probably one of the most important committees where swearing in maybe needs to be required. In the past we had an attorney in here who threw us all off because he wanted to swear everybody but the Lord himself in. We said we don't do that. There are instances but where do you draw the line? Are we going to have a resident who has lived here for years and the little fence he/she wants to put up is five inches off of where it should be and he/she needs a variance. We're going to make them swear in. It worries me that we will lose that closeness of working with the community. Ninety percent of Board of Zoning Appeals' work is with our residents over barns, campers, setbacks, side yard air conditioners, etc. We have a good give and take. I know where we have to draw the line but where do we draw it? Do we say you're a business so we have to swear you in but you are a resident so we won't? It has to be all or none, right? We're going to lose a lot on that board because of that. That does concern me. Mr. Kenworthy was very clear that we needed to take that approach and I won't oppose it if the City feels we need to but it certainly is going to change the workings of the board in how our citizens see it.
Mr. Danbury said we have to be people friendly and I think it is very impersonal when you are doing that, when you are putting yourself above people. What Mr. Kenworthy stated might be true but I feel you are driving a wedge further and further between any officials. Remember we still live here too.
Mr. Vanvoer said I know there are several people up here and in the audience who will go back where we weren't sworn in but we were asked to be held to our word and prove our word. Go back to ShopCo. There were several people depositioned during that ordeal. If you make a statement in public you can back it up. I don't think it is necessary to swear in. If the individual is so inclined to boondoggle us or lie to us boldface, they'll do it whether they've signed the affidavit or not. The City has been snookered on projects before; we will be snookered on projects again. As hard as we try there are those individuals who will only do things their way. I, like Mrs. Boice and Mr. Danbury, have a problem with that. That becomes even more intimidating, especially as they come before Council for people to get up and speak their true minds and feelings. I don't think any citizens come before us to slide anything by us. I think they are coming before us because they feel comfortable and they trust us and are asking for guidance or our consideration. I think we have a good working relationship and I would like to see that. Unfortunately the legal world and the real world don't always jive. The real world operates too many times in a CYA arena and I don't like that. I understand it, it happens but that 's my opinion and I'll swear to it.
Mr. Danbury said the bottom line is whether they swear in or not doesn't make their actions or speeches any more truthful so it's not binding.
Mr. Galster said I want everyone to be able to come in and address us but you know, we are assigned the job of running this City and it is a business. We do need to take advice and heed legal counsel's opinion. As unpleasant as that may be and I would not want to stop one resident from coming up and expressing his/her opinion, maybe we can word it in such a way it doesn't sound so bad.
Mr. Danbury stated I suppose you want it on the record that you were not proposing this. You were just relaying an idea that was thrown out.
Mr. Knox said we have received a communication that is twelve pages long with two pages in maps to go with it addressed to Dear Elected Officials. Luckily Mr. Danbury was present when I received this yesterday afternoon and we discussed it. I am going to synopsize this and put a copy of all fourteen pages in each one of your folders. They should be in there tomorrow. It is on behalf of the Earth Day Coalition. The writer, Chris Trepple, is urging you to pass a resolution opposing Senate Bill 19 which would import radioactive waste from five other states and as they characterize it, to be dumped in Ohio.
Mr. Danbury said I don't know what the time frame is on that but if there are not any objects we'd like to forward a copy on to Mr. Schneider and have a resolution at our next meeting. If there are any objects people can contact me.
Mr. Osborn said we have received the Urban Renewal Analysis from our City Planner, Ann McBride, and again the study area is that four block area bounded by Orange Street on the north, Walnut on the east, Kemper on the south and S.R. 4 on the west. The finding in the report is that the area does qualify under the Standards of ORC 725 as a blighted area and consequently, would qualify for designation as an urban renewal district. The initiative in looking at this area has been many fold. I think one key factor is our corridor study which we adopted in 1989/1990, also the interest of the City in terms of proximity to the Municipal Building, proximity to the school and the fact that this is a key quadrant for the City in terms of community scale development. We asked Ms. McBride to undertake the review to first determine if this area would qualify for urban renewal designation. It turns out that it does. If Council agrees that it would be appropriate, we would then adopt a resolution declaring the area an urban renewal district. The next step would be for the City to then undertake an urban renewal plan which essentially sets out a concept or blueprint for how we'd like to see the area developed. This is probably a little more detailed planning than we would do for the corridor study. Now we are taking a segment of that corridor and saying things haven't moved along here. We have some areas that are deteriorated in this quadrant. Let's define it as an urban renewal area and adopt a plan for its renovation. The criteria for designating a blighted area is enumerated in her document but just to summarize some of the features in the area that have caused it to be eligible, there are ten structures in the area. Using the grading system they outlined in their report, two were found to be in good condition, four in fair condition, and four were found to be in deteriorating condition. She also enumerates the repeated actions by the Building Official to enforce the building and health codes of the City. I think by my count there were forty plus citations or notices in that area during that period. Another factor is the configuration of the street layout. Some of the streets are twelve feet wide, fifteen feet wide max and it just isn't the type of infrastructure that is going to be able to support economic growth. Similarly, the ownership pattern and the lot configuration shows that where lots have not been consolidated, development has not occurred and deterioration has progressed. I'm sure you have all had an opportunity to read the report. We are looking this evening for a determination by Council, whether you want to start the process to declare this area an urban renewal district, and then initiate a more detailed plan for its renovation. I have the proposal from the planner for an urban renewal plan for the area. It will take between four and eight weeks to prepare the plan at an estimated cost of $5,000. We would like to ask Council to discuss this matter this evening and if you are so inclined to consider a resolution at your next Council meeting making the designation of an urban renewal district.
Mrs. Boice said if this would be by agreement of Council in resolution as an urban renewal area, how can long can it remain as that area without anything happening there? Is there a timetable where something has to happen?
Mr. Osborn replied no. The purpose behind declaring it an urban renewal area is to bring attention to the area and cause the City to develop a detailed concept plan on what we want to see happen. Then we are going to rely very heavily on the private sector to take an interest and undertake some of these changes. If a developer knows we, the City, have an interest in seeing two or three parcels consolidated and redeveloped as this, they know they have a lot lower risk coming to us with a proposal to do just that, than if we had nothing on record and they were flying blind and some speculator said maybe if I bought those three lots, maybe I could get the City to do something. I think if we have an urban renewal plan in place and we're telling the private sector, we would encourage this type of development, then we're going to attract that type of development more readily than if we just sit back and wait for something to happen.
Mrs. Boice responded so it does not put us in a position of having to do anything.
Mr. Danbury asked if there were any objections to having a resolution at the next meeting and there were none.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Zoning Appeals January 21, 7:30 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Danbury said we are still open on Item 1, Glendale wanting to know if they could use our jail facility . Mr. Osborn said there has been significant movement. We have received communication from Glendale that they will have this item on their first Council meeting in February and Mr. Kenworthy has been in communication with their Law Director and we anticipate having legislation before us at our next meeting as well. Finally, we may be given an opportunity to get this one off the list.
Mr. Danbury continued the second item is classification for administrative secretary. That is still open. I assume the ordinance for declaring an urban renewal area will be a resolution. We will have that at our next meeting. The traffic signal maintenance is open.
Item 5 we did tonight. Mr. Osborn stated the memorandum of agreement was not forthcoming from the State Auditor's office but it is our understanding it is being circulated for signature right now with the private sector auditor of the new firm and the State of Ohio. Hopefully we will have that document back by the next meeting so that we can have legislation authorizing Springdale's participation. That will have the same contents as item 5.
Item 7 will be at our second meeting in February. Item 8, engineering services, was requested by Mr. Wilson and will be at our next meeting.
Mr. Danbury said we also had an item of old business at our last meeting, a request to deal with income tax restructuring dealing with counties or townships. Mr. Osborn said I inappropriately reported to you that that would be before you this evening in this summary. Because of the magnitude of the changes that are required I believe it is still under review. Do you have a time frame of when that will be coming forward, Mr. Schneider?
Mr. Schneider replied I hope we have it at the next meeting.
Mr. Vanover said we have the resolution on dumping radioactive waste.
Mrs. Boice made a motion to go into a meeting of the whole to discuss economic development and personnel matters and Mr. Galster seconded.
The motion passed with 6 affirmative votes. Ms. Manis was absent.
Council went into Executive Session at 9:39 p. m. and reconvened at 10:04 p.m.
Mr. Osborn stated we asked for an executive session to discuss the report of the fact finder in the matter of the police clerk negotiations. We have recommended to City Council that you adopt a motion rejecting in total the report of the fact finder and we request again that you adopt such a motion.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to reject the report of the fact finder package as a whole. Mr. Galster seconded. The motion to reject it was passed with 6 affirmative votes.
Council adjourned at 10:06 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council