Acting President of Council Tom Vanover called Council to order on January 5, 2000, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Wilson and Vanover.
The minutes of December 15, 1999 were approved with five affirmative votes. Mr. Danbury abstained.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Presentation of Christmas lights awards
Mayor Webster said thank you all. You really lit up our City. They tell me we have in excess of 80,000 Christmas lights on the grounds here and up Route 4 and there are a few of you in the audience with a lot of lights. It makes my holiday to be able to go around and see all of the beautiful decorations throughout the City. You do a remarkable job. The competition is so great that I sometimes canít bring myself to say "youíre number 2; thereís somebody better than you on your street because you are equally good so we have two or three districts where you have to share number one again. Mayor Webster passed out the awards.
1st Place 12065 Brookston Dr. Toler
1st Place 799 Yorkhaven Rd. Runge
2nd Place 808 Ashcroft Ct. Lee
3rd Place 761 Yorkhaven Rd. Taylor
Hm 860 Yorkhaven Rd. Kortanek
Hm 12190 Brookston Dr. Harsley
Hm 12025 Greencastle Dr. Broenner
1st Place 11850 Fairsprings Ct. Compton
2nd Place 12095 Springdale Lake Dr. Veldhuis
3rd Place 12050 Springdale Lake Dr. Mpagi
Hm 12185 Springdale Lake Dr. Erzen
Hm 11811 Woodvale Ct. Fletcher
Hm 11833 Knollsprings Ct. Landsom
Hm 11840 Knollsprings Ct. Hogden
1st Place 681 Allen Ave. Bosken
1st Place 580 Cloverdale Ave. Plum
2nd Place 570 Cloverdale Ave. Amyx
3rd Place 567 Smiley Ave. Sunderman
Hm 586 West Kemper Rd. Hinkle
Hm 693 Allen Ave. Singer
Hm 462 Dimmick Ave. Wolf
Hm 696 Allen Ave. Emerson
1st Place 11511 Madison Ave. Heckman
2nd Place 585 Gradin Ave. Di Marco
3rd Place 583 Lafayette Ave. Brabbs
Hm 11490 Whallon Ct. Wright
Hm 562 Grandin Ave. Audretch
Hm 577 Observatory Dr. Foster
1st Place 403 Vista Glen Ketring
2nd Place 376 Cameron Rd. Williamson
3rd Place 375 Cameron Rd. Stacy
Hm 361 Naylor Ct. Warken
Hm 10960 Fallstone Dr. Moore
Hm 482 Vista Glen Leach
1st Place 11783 Van Cleve Ave. Salatowski
2nd Place 105 Harter Ave. Owens
3rd Place 11813 Nuess Ave. Brady
Hm 11891 Lawnview Ave. Holmes
Hm 11813 Mangrove Lane Martinez
Hm 249 Ruskin Dr. Shroyer
Hm 11722 Van Cleve Ave. Reinhardt
1st Place 12122 Audie Ct. Rish
2nd Place 705 Castro Lane Wolsing
3rd Place 1003 Pilgrim Place Schmidt
Hm 12095 Cornavin Ct. Hicsonmez
Hm 829 Crescentville Rd. E Rokiski
Hm 12149 Benadir Rd. Corwin
Hm 1254 Wainwright Dr. Birkofer
Mr. Danbury said weíve been doing this for six years. Some of the honorable mentions could have been first place over the years. I know a lot of people do it for their own satisfaction but it really does put a lot of people in the Christmas spirit.
Mayor Webster said we have two public officialsí families that really do a great job and public officials are exempt from the reward. One of the best displays in the City is none other than Mr. Vanover and if I want to keep my happy home Iíd better acknowledge all the work my wife has done.
RESOLUTION R4-2000 "COMMENDING TOM, NIKKI AND CASSIE FOGUS, OFFICER MIKE NOBLE, AND PARAMEDICS CHARLES CAUDILL AND MARK MILLER FOR THEIR OUTSTANDING DEDICATION AND SERVICE TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Wilson made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mayor Webster said I would like to express my condolences to the Johnson family on the passing of Mr. Johnson. Secondly, I would like to take my hat off to the courage activities of our fire fighters, police officer and the citizens we are going to honor with this resolution. The City can only do so much as far as providing manpower, training and equipment, but there comes a time when the private sector has to get involved. I think we are very lucky that we live in a community where people do get involved; where people do care and take care of one another. In this case, they did a yeomanís job trying to save Mr. Johnsonís life. Thank you very much for your efforts.
Resolution R4-2000 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster presented the resolution to the Fogus family, Charles Caudill, Mark Miller and Mike Noble. He said Officer Noble was hurt in an automobile accident on Thanksgiving morning. He is still recuperating and still has some surgery and rehab to go through.
RESOLUTION R3-2000 "CONGRATULATING WMKV (89.3 FM)"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mayor Webster stated Maple Knoll Village is one of the crown jewels of this City and has been since its inception in the 70s. The radio station came about five years ago and I think we all kind of snickered at first. Youíd be absolutely shocked at the number of people that made reference to this radio station. Theyíve done a marvelous job and we wish them the best.
Mr. Danbury said I think the congratulations should go to the driving force of this concept and that is Mr. Alan Bayoski. I met with Alan when he was talking about putting this together. I didnít snicker but I didnít think it would have the national reception that it has had. I think itís great. Congratulations to you and everyone there.
Mr. Knox said I started this resolution because I picked up my Post one evening and there was a smiling photograph of Alan Bayoski giving some details of the award that was given to WMKV. Iíve done a lot of checking into WMKV and found out what a wonderful institution it really is. I should give credit to Kathy Ewbank of the Cincinnati Post for helping in writing this because she did most of the research. Even though WMKV is going out worldwide, it is difficult for it to be heard in surrounding counties. The ICRC does also carry this on the public access stations in Clermont, Warren and Butler Counties.
Resolution R3-2000 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Bayoski said thank you for the excellent relationship we have enjoyed with the City over all these years. We appreciate this recognition. We like to say we are the station that has the most listeners per watt. We only have 440 watts which isnít a whole lot of power but we do have a lot of listeners. We are going on the internet very soon and will be able to take this big band music, jazz and wellness information across the world. We thank you for all the support we have had over the years from the City. It really is a partnership. I appreciate your recognition. A lot of people, such as Bill Nemos, Bill Myers, Bob Miller, veteran broadcasters who have gone along with our volunteers and have put together a wonderful package of locally produced music and wellness information that we hope is of interest, not only to our community, but to the greater Cincinnati area and now the world.
Mr. Osborn said the last few years the City has applied for a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant and weíve been successful the last two years in a row. The amount of the grant is $11,242. I would ask Chief Laage to come forward and give you more information as to the purpose of the program that these funds will support.
Chief Laage said in 1999 we applied for a federal block grant to get more officers in the neighborhood and to see what our residents really wanted; what we were providing them, what we were not providing them, what we could do better, what we were doing good. DARE Officer Jeff Witte spearheaded this project. We have four residents on our advisory group that was formed last year. We sat down with the residents to get their input. Their biggest response was that they know there is a lot of activity at Tri-County but they still want us in the neighborhoods. We developed a program where this pays for overtime and equipment and literature. We now have an officer go into the neighborhoods for a set amount of time, three or four hours at a time. Our objective is to interview residents. Weíre doing surveys with residents. We do some traffic but itís not enforcement. We talk with the motorists and try to gain compliance with a non-written citation. We have had good feedback and the four advisory members have agreed to serve again this year. Once the weather turns warm we will start again.
Mr. Danbury asked if they are patrolling by foot or car?
Chief Laage replied they are patrolling by car now. Thatís one of the requests by the residents. Weíve talked about a bike patrol and are looking into that for 2000.
Mr. Squires asked is this officer going to be identified in any unique way.
Chief Laage replied no, the officer will be in uniform in the cruiser and stopping and talking with residents.
Mayor Webster asked Chief Laage to talk about the food for fines program.
Chief Laage said the program was started a few years ago. Al Maupin said one time during the Christmas season, that sometimes itís hard to stop a vehicle and issue a citation which involves a fine and yet the person is in violation. He came up with the idea of paying the citation with canned goods which would be distributed to needy families in the Springdale area. We just looked at one another. Then we started thinking about it and thought it had a lot of merit to it. We checked with the state auditor and the magistrate, and with the gracious go ahead of the City fathers this started a couple of years ago. This year we started Thanksgiving morning and went to Christmas day. We issued 231 citations during that period of time. The fine to the City for a moving violation could be paid off in canned goods. Twenty dollars in state costs had to be paid. For every non-moving violation there was no fee, just the canned goods. Now we have people come in with bags full of canned goods and say "I didnít get a ticket, I just want to donate something." The 231 citations amounted to a loss of $9,265 to the City. Thatís a substantial amount of money but I think the City values this and sees the benefit. If you could ever accompany an officer when they go to a family and deliver those canned goods you would really see the benefit. They delivered several bags to several families in Springdale. We gave several bucketloads to the Vineyard Church. We also gave some when the fire struck in Union Township. On behalf of the P.D. thank you very much.
Mayor Webster said I think the thank you is going in the wrong direction here. We owe a big thank you to the Police Department for doing this and especially to Al Maupin for his wild idea.
Ms. Pollitt said we have had you up here quite a bit in recent months and I think thatís a real commendation to the employees that you have and to our citizens also.
Mr. Vanover said this is what reflects back to us that makes our City so special. We have the neighborhood block watch running strongly. The dedication that these people give to us is phenomenal and I canít say thanks enough. And also to the citizens too, with the landscaping and Christmas decorations.
Discussion of new Zoning Code regulations
Mr. Osborn said we started working on this almost three years ago. The consultant is with us this evening as well as our City Planner and Building Official. I would like to ask Bill McErlane, our Building Official to introduce the consultant and say a few more words about what he would like us to accomplish this evening.
Mr. McErlane said tonight we are hoping to start the final lap in a 2 Ĺ year process of developing a new Zoning Code for the City of Springdale. A lot of work went into this, a lot of long hours by a committee made up of members of City Council, Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission. Some of those people are on the dais tonight: Mr. Schneider, Derrick Parham, Steve Galster; and Kathy McNear who is not here tonight. Also, a lot of work went into it from the City Plannerís standpoint and an extreme amount of work was done by Paul Coulter of Pflum Klausmeier and Gehrum, the author of the Zoning Code. We have not adopted a new draft of the Zoning Code since 1978 so for the last 22 years we have been doing a lot of patchwork. This is a total reworking of the structure of the Zoning Code. Regulation-wise a lot of it is the same as what we currently have. There are some nomenclature changes. There is no rezoning of individual properties. Although the zoning map is changed, itís only changed in designations because we changed the designations to give them a little closer nomenclature to what the zoning actually is. With that, Iíd like to introduce Paul Coulter of Pflum Klausmeier and Gehrum.
Mr. Coulter said thank you for the opportunity to work with you on the Zoning Code. It is an important piece to regulating land uses within your City. We tried to make it an easier document to use and more user friendly. We did a technical analysis of your zoning code, looking at issues such as deficiencies, current trends that could update your code, etc. We provided the committee members with our evaluation, got comments from them and made the appropriate modifications. Before it was over we went through twelve different revisions of the entire code. Mr. Coulter gave a summary of the new Zoning Code.
Mr. Coulter said we split the Zoning Code up into articles and each article has subsections. We removed words from the Definitions sections that were not in the Zoning Code and defined words that are currently used, which did not have their normal meaning. We grouped some of the terms together under like definitions. We retitled the residential districts and others where appropriate. We provided each district in the Zoning Code with a purpose statement as to what that district is to be used for.
Mr. Coulter said all single household dwellings are now required to have a two-car garage and minimum dwelling sizes have been increased in every district. To comply with State law we looked at issues such as group homes, foster family homes and community social care facilities and included those in your district.
Mr. Osborn said Item 3 under Residential will require all single family households to have two car garages. The zoning that currently governs some of our smaller lot subdivisions does not require two car garages and I want to ask what impact that may have on our smaller lot subdivisions that may even now be non-conforming in terms of lot width? Do you see a greater number of those coming forth for variances or consolidation of lots?
Mr. McErlane said the potential for future development of residential lots is limited throughout most of the smaller residential zoning districts right now. The only large amount of land currently available is the R-1A, the new RSHE (estate zoning). Those lots will be larger as it is. Of the areas currently zoned R-1D, there are a lot of two car garages in those areas already. I donít think itís infeasible to do.
Mr. Osborn asked would you amplify the definitions of group homes, foster family homes and community social service facilities and what the law says about those types of facilities?
Mr. Coulter responded the State of Ohio establishes under the Ohio Revised Code certain requirements for what they call social services facilities, group homes, foster family homes. Social services facilities are licensed by the State of Ohio as a facility to treat groups of people in residential atmospheres. The terms relate to the different size groups. The group home is the largest. We didnít provide any regulations in here because we didnít want to contradict the Ohio Revised Code.
Mr. Osborn said our code was originally written over 22 years ago. Many of these definitions and social outreach facilities were not common at that time. We may have a controversy arise sometime in the future about the placement of one of these facilities in our community. We have them in our community now but at some point they could become controversial. We really have limitations on our zoning authority because of state law and court decisions about the actual selection of placement for these facilities. We are not permitted to regulate them out of the opportunity to be a part of our residential community.
The Law Director had done research on where these are permitted and where we can restrict them. The only one that can be restricted out of a single family district is the group home and it allows up to 16 people in one home. It is allowed in a multi-family district but not single family.
Mr. Coulter said in the non-residential districts, we made each district free standing. A lot of those districts provided both prohibited uses and permitted uses. What if a use isnít on either list? We have provided a list of permitted uses and provided a strong definition of what the use includes. Mr. Coulter stated some of the changes that have been made in the commercial districts.
Mr. Danbury said if certain businesses are not permitted in certain areas but there are businesses already there that are grandfathered, can the use continue if the owner sells to someone else?
Mr. Schneider replied, yes, non-conforming uses are a property right and it continues until the business discontinues for six months.
Mr. Osborn said in some cases, some of the uses we are not permitting as a principal use will be able to continue as an ancillary use, like auto repairs if itís part of a new car dealership in a General Business District. If you are going to start a new auto repair business then youíd have to be in one of the districts that has been zoned for motor service.
Mr. Coulter said regulations that would affect several districts have been removed from the particular districts and placed them in a supplemental regulations article.
Mayor Webster asked does this revision address the problem we have with people having large driveways but not having enough room to put two cars back to back? Theyíd have small cars and want to put a boat on one side.
Mr. McErlane replied the RV and boat regulations are basically the same. It does say 9íx19í parking spaces rather than 9íx20í. In our residential districts today we say the driveway has to be nineteen feet wide regardless of how long it is. This change says you have to provide two 19í spaces. They can be end to end or side by side.
Mayor Webster said this does nothing for the problem weíve had with RVs.
Mr. McErlane replied the code reads the same as it does today. You have to have two 9íx19í spaces for cars as well as space for the RV or boat.
Mr. Danbury said in some areas, if someone wanted to widen their driveway, they couldnít because they cannot expand into the front yard.
Mr. McErlane responded the way it currently reads for RV storage, you cannot expand in front of your front door to accommodate RVs. If you have a single car width driveway, the code will allow you to expand your driveway as long as you maintain the existing driveway to accommodate your cars. There are a lot of regulations in that section such as you canít park closer than five feet to the property line. A lot of the places in Heritage Hill cannot do it at all. The idea behind it when it was developed in 1983 was that if you donít have a lot to accommodate it, then you need to find another place to park it.
Mr. Osborn said I have a list of some of the things that are routinely and traditionally controversial in zoning codes, and RV storage is one of those items on the list. Iím sure the committee was faced with people with the perspective that RVs shouldnít be in front of the house in any driveways. Then, there are people with the perspective that they should be able to own an RV, should be able to store it on their property and canít get it in the back yard or on a side lot. We went through this issue in a very detailed fashion in the mid 80s and ultimately hammered out the standards that are in place in the current code. When this group started looking at modifications, it went full circle and came back to where we are now. If you want it more stringent or less stringent than what we currently have, then this area needs further review.
Mr. Galster said we did go all the way to wanting to have them completely removed and I know a lot of people remember the debates that went on for two or three years when we originally wrote the code. But there are also so many other needs of the community and Administration of having a new code, we didnít want to not get a new code based on opening up a three or four year debate on RV parking again. Even when we looked at changing it two years ago, we had RV owners come up and say donít change it.
Mr. Coulter said there was concern from committee that delivery vehicles were being parked where they could be seen from the public right-of-way. We included a provision that any vehicle that displays a business name or advertisement of a business cannot be parked in an off-street loading area, in an area that is visible from the public right-of-way during non-business hours. Once that shop is closed they need to move their business equipment to a place where they cannot be seen on the property.
Mr. Osborn said the fact that all of these issues are not fully agreed upon by everyone who had their hands on this project, one that causes me concern is the signs. That is because we are making the sign requirements more restrictive when at the present time, given our current language we had a plethora of variances out there. I am concerned that in a situation when a major business comes in, we have to grant variances to the signs. If you go down Kemper Road or SR 747 youíll see signs that are monumental in size. Thatís because the car dealerships, the shopping center, etc. impressed upon the City and eventually the Board of Zoning Appeals or City Council in the event of a PUD, that they needed signage outside of our regulations. Iím concerned that by reducing the height of these signs, and modifying our regulations of them, all we are doing is creating a situation where we will be creating more variances. When a company comes in between two dealerships and wants to put a sign up, and finds out they can only have a sign one-fifth the size of the adjacent property owners or only half as high, weíll have to become very thick skinned when it comes to variances, or weíll have to recognize that by changing the language we are not going to dramatically affect the nature of the signage in the community. We cannot force people to remove non-conforming signs. Itís very difficult for the Building Department to try to enforce these regulations even as they were, let alone now that weíve reduced the height and square footage.
Ms. Pollitt said Mr. Osborn, in regards to the signage you were talking about, could we go back to the article on the semis and delivery trucks being able to park out by the roadway during normal business hours. Is there any way that could be limited, because if they canít get their signs out there, that would be their next best option to advertise their business?
Mr. Osborn replied I think thatís a good regulation because the Building Department is constantly looked to for a solution. And right now we donít have one except the regulation that says certain size vehicles have to be parked at loading docks. However, vans and other vehicles that are clearly parked at the very edge of the public right-of-way are parked there for one reason, to serve as a sign. I think that is a circumvention of our sign regulation.
Mr. Osborn said we did have the issue of barbwire come up in our current code. Will that be properly addressed in the new draft?
Mr. McErlane said the new code takes all the regulations relative to fences and puts them in one place. Currently we donít have any wording that restricts barbwire in residential districts. We do have a regulation that restricts it in commercial districts. The new Zoning Code groups all those fences together and prevents that fencing as a general restriction. In response to Mayor Webster, Mr. Schneider said that would not be grandfathered.
Ms. Pollitt asked will these changes allow the Building Department to have more teeth on the maintenance codes, especially for businesses?
Mr. McErlane replied the Property Maintenance Code is a separate code. There are restrictions that apply to commercial businesses as well as residential. We fall short in the commercial area, in the maintenance of curbing, pavement, sidewalks, etc. I have forwarded some recommendations to Council for adding those and they were withheld to get through the election and holiday seasons.
Mr. Danbury asked did this tighten up the issue of people doing a lot of auto repair out of their homes?
Mr. McErlane answered it is currently a prohibited use as a home occupation and it will continue to be a prohibited use. We have been made aware of a couple of instances where thatís been the case, but if you are aware of any others let us know. Itís a difficult thing to try to prove unless you can find people who are willing to testify that they are taking their car there to get it repaired or you can observe a number of cars going in and out and getting repaired.
Mr. Osborn stated there are additional regulations that govern how a resident can work on his or her own car in his/her own driveway. There are certain limitations on the type of repair that can be done and thatís the type of complaint we get the most often. We are most frequently chasing down those situations where someone is a home hobbyist or has a spare car that he is trying to get running again and there are parts lying all over the driveway. Any resident can do work on his/her own car in his/her driveway but there are limitations on the time and type of work that can be done. Thatís where we have the greatest ability to make an enforcement solution. Itís tougher when weíre trying to prove someone is doing it for profit. If people have a hobby of making repairs to vehicles, they sometimes accumulate a number of vehicles and these vehicles are parked on the public street. We havenít found a good way to say you canít park a licensed vehicle that you own on the street. You may be penalizing a lot of very non-guilty citizens who have five vehicles for very legitimate reasons. We do have one item related to this dealing with parking towed recreational vehicles in the public right-of-way. Right now the Building Department will tell someone they canít park a boat or RV in their driveway because they donít have enough parking spaces or they have more than one boat, etc., so the owner parks the boat on the street. It now becomes a Police enforcement issue. We are working on an ordinance with the Police Department and Law Directorís Office to try to address those types of problems.
Mr. Osborn said another item that came before Council early this fall but which was tabled to a committee was the density of occupation in a site. It all relates back to household versus family. We canít define families anymore as related by blood or marriage. Now the question of how many people are reasonable in a three bedroom home comes up. The Building Department has extracted some information from national standards and frankly, itís hard to take those and apply them to our community. I polled some of the Council members to see how big their bedrooms were and how many bedrooms they had, and some of them were going to violate our code if we adopted it. I used you all because I was concerned about the application of those regulations. We are still in the process of trying to find a way to address that.
Ms. Pollitt asked what is the regulation on parking a boat on the street?
Mr. Osborn replied right now there is no limitation on how long you can park it on the street. You can park it in your driveway for 72 hours a month.
Mr. Vanover said Mr. Osborn, if I am reading you correctly, you would like to see us rethink the dimensions and maybe open that up a bit.
Mr. Osborn said I donít think Iím suggesting that I try to impose my will over the rest of the folks who were involved in this. There were reasons why the decision was made to go in this direction. I was just pointing out what I think will be a difficult situation for the Board of Zoning Appeals as well as the Building Department to administer the code. Ideally, over time an evolution will occur and we will see these big signs come down and the smaller signs be the norm. But that is going to take a long, long time. I donít think weíre going to see an immediate result of reducing the height of signs in commercial districts or the size of the signs. The City, through its planning process, tries to get developers to use more ground signs, and reduce the size of the signage they are asking for. In a non PUD setting I think more and more people will go to the Board of Zoning Appeals to get relief from even more restrictive regulations.
Mr. Galster said we have been able to say to an applicant, "this is what the new code is going to say and you will not be allowed anything higher than a 30 foot sign and all of a sudden that 60 foot sign they wanted comes down to 32 feet. All of a sudden, monument signs are being used. Jake Sweeney was modifying their building and we got rid of two pole signs. Even though I do agree with Mr. Osborn that we may have more need for some variances, the more restrictive code is actually getting people more to where we want to be and it is allowing us to eliminate some of the big signs. It may take 50 years to see a drastic change but I do think we are seeing a lot smaller signs at Planning Commission just with this is what the new code will allow.
Mr. Squires said I would like to commend the design of this document. I served on the Board of Zoning Appeals for the past four years and what we had previous to this was just not as user friendly as this is. I was ecstatic when I first began to study this. One of the most difficult things Board of Zoning Appeals deals with is signage. We want to be fair. I agree with Mr. Galster that perhaps these new "restrictions" on signage are where the City wants to go; yet I also agree with the City Administrator in that are we getting too restrictive as to where we will have undue hardship on people and we donít want to do that. If it means looking at this signage regulation again, Iím all for it; but I certainly donít want to change any of the organization of this document. Itís too well organized. I wish I had had it four years earlier.
Mr. Vanover said Iíve sat on both BZA and Planning Commission and obviously in Planning Commission the applicantís thinking is bigger and better. We haggle that religiously. Weíre fighting to keep the Las Vegas glitz out of Springdale. As long as we have the avenue of the Board of Zoning Appeals there is the opportunity for negotiation. My concern would be can we enforce it?
Mr. McErlane said similar to the RV section we kind of went full circle on signs as well. We started out doing away with all pole signs which everyone would love to happen but itís not going to be a reality. Then we looked at regulating the square footage of pole signs a little tighter and I think we ended up with the same thing we have today except the pole sign came down from 30 feet to 25 feet. The only thing we looked at was if you have a v-shaped sign, weíre now including both panels on that v-shaped sign toward your allowable signage because of the fact that you can see it more than you can a sign that is perpendicular to the road. I donít think our regulations have changed a whole lot from what we currently have. I think the onus is really on Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission. If they want to see smaller signs, then hold the lines on those things.
Mr. Osborn stated that was the thrust of my comments. It wasnít that we made a whole-scale dramatic reduction, but that, faced with a routine of going in and seeing variances on signs, we have tightened the language. Iím just suggesting that with all deference to Mr. Galsterís observations, I donít think weíre going to see a drastic reduction in it, unless there is something in it for the developer. If itís in a PUD, we say hold back on that signage and weíll concede on this other point. That happens all the time. Iím just suggesting that we canít assume that because weíve moderated the sign regulations, that weíre going to be able to see a change in how signs are used here in the City unless we grow a lot thicker skin and enforce the rules.
Mr. Squires said, Mr. McErlane, sometimes corporations have restrictions on their signage that are out of our variance. General Motors may be required to have them 35 feet in their dealerships.
Mr. McErlane said they will relay that to you fairly easily. If you hold the line with them, theyíll show you the next smallest size.
Mr. Squires said if this is where we want to go, I think we have a very good BZA and quite frankly, I think we are up to the challenge.
Mr. Danbury said I think the issue of signage is valid but if you look at the issue of side yard air conditioners we had a while back, it was something consistently before the board. They werenít necessarily rubber-stamping it but they were basically being consistent and every applicant had to go through the same process and then we changed it. We can always re-evaluate this in the future and we can change it. I donít want any resident or business owner to think the City is trying to control their lives, Itís because people have five or six cars that we have to make a regulation that you canít have five or six cars because everybody canít have five or six. Unfortunately, weíre making these zoning codes and changing them because there are a few people who like to abuse the system. We donít want to make people unhappy but we have to do this because there are people out there who donít care about their neighbors. Some people want to have the biggest sign they can but you canít do this. This isnít Las Vegas. I commend you on all the work. It is very organized compared to what it was before.
Mr. Osborn said we have to have a public hearing and have thirty days notice. Council set the public hearing for February 16. The first reading will be January 19.
Mr. Vanover said we would be remiss if we didnít recognize Ann McBride and her input on this. Weíve haggled with her over this and she has taken some chastising.
ORDINANCE NO. 63-1999 "VACATING A PORTION OF THE PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY CONTAINING APPROXIMATELY 0.068 ACRE LOCATED ON CENTURY CIRCLE EAST, WITH TITLE VESTING TO VINEYARD COMMUNITY CHURCH, AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE ANY AND ALL DOCUMENTS NECESSARY FOR THE VACATION"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 63-1999 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 64-1999 "ACCEPTING DEDICATION OF A RIGHT-OF-WAY ON CENTURY CIRCLE EAST, CONTAINING APPROXIMATELY .1606 ACRE AND APPROVING A REPLAT OF LOTS 4-6 OF CENTURY BUSINESS PARK SUBDIVISION"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Ordinance 64-1999 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 1-2000 "ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2000"
Ms. Pollitt made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.
Ordinance 1-2000 passed with six affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R1-2000 "AUTHORIZING THE INVESTMENT OF MUNICIPAL FUNDS"
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Resolution R1-2000 passed with six affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R2-2000 "REQUESTING ADVANCE PAYMENT FROM THE COUNTY AUDITOR"
Mr. Wilson made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.
Resolution R2-2000 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said Iíd like to give you the last update on Y2K. We were very fortunate and have not experienced any problems with our business systems. There have been one or two very minor things that are non-critical. It was just a matter of changing some dates back on part of our scheduling system. All the other business systems we have; budgetary, accounting, payroll, tax, health department, building department systems are working fine. We know that had we not undertaken a proactive effort to deal with the issue, we would have had failures because those systems were tested by advancing the dates and the clocks on the computers and there would have been failures. Weíre very glad that nothing happened but now everyoneís saying whatís the big deal. The big deal was companies and businesses worked for hours and hours and without that intervention, there would have been more. There still may be something that surfaces later in the year.
Mr. Galster said Mr. Osborn, you had mentioned before that we had purchased emergency equipment like generators in case there were major problems. Will we move that equipment or retain it?
Mr. Osborn replied we will retain it and it will be used in the event of power outages under any circumstances such as a winter storm, problems with a transmission line. We identified our three critical intersections, rewired the backboards to accept emergency generation, acquired three generators for Y2K. We pre-sited them at the Fire Department and a pick up truck from the Fire Department was to go with the Police Officer to put them up. Those generators will be retained by us for use during a major storm, etc. We have portable stop signs to put up at intersections where we donít have emergency power. We spent $55,000 for Y2K issues but a lot of that has use beyond Y2K. In many cases, not only were we addressing an issue with the system being in compliance but we were able to step up and put in a new version of that software which allowed us more capability.
Mr. Danbury asked could you update everyone on the status of the Rec Center?
Mr. Osborn said I want to turn it over to Mr. Parham to review with you, not just the fire but the overall status of the project, because obviously the fire is going to have an impact on that. I would like to recognize the Recreation Center Staff and their quick thinking and action the morning of the fire to make sure all of our patrons got out of that building under pretty extreme circumstances. It was a life threatening situation and our staff got the people out safely. Itís hard to train for something like that. Our people did the right thing at the right time.
Mr. Parham reported on Thursday, December 23, at 11:21 a.m. our Fire Department was notified that there was a fire in the existing building of the
Springdale Community Center. On Wednesday, December 22 we had just turned meeting rooms A and B over to the contractor to begin the demolition to prepare to remodel those areas. It was originally scheduled to turn those rooms over in the beginning of 2000 but in an effort to try to speed up the process and get back on schedule we decided to turn them over earlier. The general contractor hired a subcontractor. Five of their employees were conducting the demolition of the facility. They were in the process of removing the carpeting from the floor. They experienced some difficulty on December 22 so they brought in a solvent. The demolition company placed a solvent on the carpet and let it set overnight. On December 23 they had removed all of the carpeting from meeting room B and were working on removing the carpeting in meeting room A when two of the five employees decided it was a good time to use an electric saw to cut some of the ceiling component. Using the hack saw yielded sparks that hit the solvent and there were flames. Our Fire Department moved in pretty quickly to put out the fire. No one was injured. One of them indicated that as soon as they saw the ignition of the fire they dropped everything and ran. As the damage indicates on the photographs there were windows that were blown out, or actually sucked back in. One of the hinges of the partition that separates the arts and crafts room and meeting room A was sucked back into the meeting room. The total electrical power in the two rooms was totally shot. There is currently no electricity in that room. The duct work throughout the ceiling was destroyed. Two rooftop HVAC units that were placed on top of the roof in the past three years received severe damage and will need to be removed. We had CDS come out the Monday after the fire and we contacted the H.C. Nutting Company. They brought in an expert to test the structural components of the building, the bar joists, the welds, the bolts holding the bar joists in place. Iíve not received the written documentation yet but I understand that all of that material will have to be removed so in essence we will have to have a new ceiling in those two rooms. We do not yet have an estimated cost for damage, nor do we have an estimate as to when we will have that room functioning again. This was a subcontractor working on this particular part of the project. Our agreement and our contract is with Martis and Meehan. We do not have an agreement with the subcontractor and weíve put Martis and Meehan and their insurance company on notice that their feet will be held to the fire as to making sure that the room is restored and paid for. At the same time, I have been dealing more so with the subcontractorís claims adjusters, and they recognize that the problem is theirs. A lot of times when you have liability issues everyone is trying to point the finger somewhere else, but itís very difficult when itís only the subcontractorís employees in the room. They laid the solvent; they cut the pipes and so yielded the sparks. At the same time the representatives from Martis and Meehan have been extremely cooperative. They have indicated that they will cover the costs, and collect their fees from the subcontractors. Needless to say, this puts the completion of the building back some time. Weíve been closed since the event. Over the last week and a half, Certified Restoration has been in cleaning most of the soot you noticed in the photographs. RPC has brought in another group, Delta, who has been cleaning the duct work and removing the soot in the duct work areas. Delta is scheduled to complete their portion of the work this Friday. Certified Restoration is also targeting this Friday but both may have to roll over to the weekend. The goal is to have the center open beginning Monday. The Community Center staff has been working here in the basement of the building. They have been taking calls and making calls to coaches. Basketball season has started. The Village of Evendale and the City of Sharonville have assisted us in allowing our teams to practice and play in their facilities this week. I had Mr. Burton and his staff contact them to check for availability in case we are not able to get back into our facility on Monday.
Mr. Osborn said itís not a matter of a room catching on fire and the rest of the building was not involved. There was an implosion; the fumes ignited and the heat and smoke from the fire went up through the suspended ceiling and there was thick, dark smoke throughout the building chest high and within another thirty or forty seconds that was down to about two or three feet off the ground. We have severe smoke damage in the rest of the building. In some areas we have soot two or three inches deep. In some cases we have to make decisions about demolition. Jim Burton told me he was sitting in his office when he heard the noise. By the time he left his office and got to the hallway, because the smoke came down through the return air ducts, within seconds the smoke was already shoulder high and within a few more seconds was below waist level. Four or five patrons were in the building and they were running out of the gymnasium. At least one person turned the wrong way and was headed towards the fire when Debbie Carpenter pulled him down and they led people out of an emergency exit on the other side of the building. Iím convinced that the damage is going to be in multiples of thousands of dollars. We are trying to get back in business as quickly as we can and even when we do there will be greater limitations on how we can use the building than there would have been otherwise. Itís been a setback for us but the most important thing is that everyone escaped the fire without injury.
Mr. Danbury said I went down there that day. We are so lucky that we didnít have the senior citizens there or a basketball game going on. Within thirty seconds of the explosion this big black ball of smoke came in. If we had had some kind of function there we could have had serious problems. I donít know how the five workers escaped and we have to be thankful that no one was hurt. Will they be scheduling additional crews besides the ones they already have subcontracted to help get us back on pace?
Mr. Parham replied we meet the first and third Tuesdays of every month. In the meeting just two days before the fire, one of the things we talked about was trying to get back on schedule. There is a shortage of labor with the stadium being built downtown. We are making sure that we keep this event separate from the normal work and construction that was going to be going on. We are working with Martis and Meehan, because it is their subcontractor, to make sure that they are in agreement with the organizations that we identify to come in and do the duct work, the organization that will do the cleaning of the building, replacement of the ceiling, etc so that those costs will be associated with this event. Those insurance carriers will be handling those costs and it will not interfere with or be lumped onto whatís currently going on. Weíre not in the business of trying to gouge the insurance company and have them pay for things that were not going to be performed under this current contract or those things that were going to be performed under this contract. Our intention is to get our building back to where it was before the event. If you canít get the soot off the walls by wiping and cleaning, then it may call for painting. That goes under this event cost. The odor in the building must be eliminated and that will go under the insurance cost.
Mayor Webster said the staff has arranged to have sign-ups for spring and summer sports conducted here in the rotunda of this building at the same times it has been published.
Mayor Webster said I have named this project "the project from hell" because it seems that everything that has been done down there has caused a major problem. I am very upset with the whole project, especially the amount of time it takes to get issues resolved. You are going to have some glitches in a project of this magnitude. I see no excuse for these problems to take months and months to get resolved and thatís what weíve had in a number of cases. We are trying to set up a meeting with the owners of the company, CDS and our staff next week to see what we can do to try to cut through some of this bureaucratic red tape or whatever it is that is causing the resolution of these problems to take so long. Needless to say, part of that discussion will be the overall completion and what we can do to get the project brought in as closely to the end of August as possible.
Ms. Pollitt asked Mr. Osborn to give an update on the disaster plan for the City.
Mr. Osborn replied it is progressing. We have developed a draft that we can give the department directors to review. We have developed a set plan for staffing and the operation of the CIC. The purpose of a disaster plan is not to serve as a cookbook that you go to when an event occurs. Itís an opportunity to get organized before the event happens. We used Y2K as a training device. We had a work up on contingency planning and whoís going to do what, whoís responsible for what area. People are going to be asked to do and be responsible for the same type of activities they would do during normal business hours. The more critical thing is organizing how these pieces come together. Thatís why the first component weíve worked up in detail is the staffing and operations of the CIC. I asked the Fire Chief to make a presentation at our December staff meeting on the Command and Control System that is used by the Fire Department in an emergency. The next piece we will have is a review of the staffing and operations of the CIC. Iím not yet prepared to bring a document to Council because I would like the input from the other directors on the details within that report.
Mr. Vanover said I greatly appreciated the call Thursday afternoon notifying me of the incident. We all know word travels fast and I was able to at least answer questions.
Mr. Parham stated I did want to give an update on the facility. Even though we had the fire, construction has continued. The balance of the flooring has been poured, the slabs have been poured throughout the facility. There are just a few areas around the columns and staircase area that have not been poured yet. The construction of the wall with the masons around the new womenís and menís restrooms is going pretty well. The majority of the windows are currently on site and they plan to begin installing them within the next three weeks. There is a skylight in the hallway area near the new meeting rooms and batting cage that has been installed. They are currently working on the skylight that goes down the hall towards the concession stands and brings you back into the existing gymnasium area. There will be skylights in the upper part of the front of the building. There are a few things weíre awaiting decisions on that are still being delayed.
Ms. Pollitt said, if I recall, we appropriated funds for an employee to be a liaison between the construction crew and the City. Is that correct? Is he there full-time?
Mr. Parham responded we have a gentleman, Rex Baysor, who was hired by CDS and we foot the bill. He was formerly the Safety Service Director for the City of Sharonville. Some days he is there all day. It depends on the level of activity that goes on.
Ms. Pollitt asked is this the first time we have utilized a person in this position on a construction job?
Mr. Osborn replied we did on this building. We have a construction observation person with technical expertise who is on the job site to make decisions and document what is going on. Rexís role is very critical to this project and I think he has been doing a good job for us. The problems that are being identified are not occurring at his level. His responsibility is to be on the job site, make sure the plans are followed, make sure that quantities are what they say they are, document who was on site and when they were there, etc. The things that have caused us delay are things that he is not in position to make a decision on. Those have been kicked up to the architects and in two or three instances, those have resulted in extensive delays, well beyond what we think is reasonable. Besides the contractor, we will have the architects at the meeting also because I donít know that we can lay all the responsibility for this lack of proper resolution of issues at the feet of the contractor. Maybe itís our responsibility as well.
Ms. Pollitt said I understand the actual physical area they are working in is very limited as far as having to move equipment and materials back and forth in order to make the area accessible.
Mr. Osborn said Mr. McErlane took proposals for our HVAC maintenance on all the facilities owned by the City except the Maintenance Garage. Previously we have had separate contracts for this building and one for all of the other buildings. It has taken a couple of years to get multi-year contracts in sync so we could bid it all out for one contractor. Thatís what we did this year and the low bid was by RPC Mechanical at $1,383 a month under a two-year contract. Our second low bid was from Mechanical Services at $1,800 per month. Thatís a $10,800 difference over two years. Mechanical Services currently has the contract for the Municipal Building. The contractor from the other buildings chose not to bid. RPC is a company known to us. They currently have the construction responsibilities at the Community Center and they did Phase I of the Police Department. Iím assuming that they have a better grasp of the equipment being installed, warranties, etc. For whatever reason they were able to come in under the next best bid by $10,000. If you look at what weíre paying now for this building and the other buildings and add them together, itís $1,800 a month. Weíre actually going to be saving $10,000 over the next two years under this proposal so we recommend going with RPC on that bid and we request legislation at your next meeting as the current contract expires January 31.
Mr. Osborn continued that the City was successful with its 2000 recycle grant application. For the last few years we have had recycle days along with the Community Pride event and this event has been partially funded by the State of Ohio and thatís the case this year. We budgeted $10,000 for the event and we received $6,400 in an award for the recycle days event.
Mr. Osborn reported that I want to advise Council on the problems our residents experienced on the evening of January 3. Iím sure youíre all aware of the severe rain that evening. We have a weather station at the Municipal Garage that is tied to our web site so if you want to track weather by thirty-minute increments, you can do that on our web site. On January 3, between 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. we had 2.6 inches of rain and in a thirty-minute period from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. we had just under an inch of rain. The peak wind with gusts of 45 mph occurred at 7 p.m. when the major rain came through so it was a fairly severe storm. Nine residents reported water in basements to the City. Of these nine, six were severe enough that our Fire Department was able to lend assistance by pumping. If the water is only an inch or two our siphon isnít capable of dealing with water that shallow. In one case, a lady had water up to the third step in her basement and is still in the process of getting heat back in her house. The Public Works Department is contacting MSD to get additional information in the event that people reported similar situations to them that did not get to us. We can utilize that information to try to analyze any patterns, to try to trace the flooding problems back to obstructed sanitary sewers or other types of problems. We will work closely with MSD in trying to come up with solutions. Iíd also like to add that residents who experience this kind of problem should call and let us know. In most cases, unless we can help you by pumping the basement or something of that nature, the solution is either going to be within the residentsí responsibility on their properties or in the sanitary sewer line, which is MSD. We will try to serve as an intermediary for the resident working with MSD, but weíd also ask that the resident not only call us, but also call MSD. We can turn in a list of six to eight homes to MSD and it will get filed and plotted, but if MSD gets six calls from residents, it carries greater weight in carrying out a resolution of the problem.
Mr. Osborn said the next item deals with the vacation of McClellanís Lane. Those homes have all been sold and today was the deadline for the homes to be vacated. The developer, CostCo, is trying to put together a schedule to create their consolidation plat where they assemble all that property into one parcel. Ahead of that, we have to do a vacation ordinance like we did for the Vineyard. There are still some issues as to how extensive that vacation is. There is one technical problem we need to work out, but nevertheless, at the next Council meeting we would like to have an ordinance authorizing that vacation. The next thing to occur after that is the consolidation plat. That has to be done before we can turn the developer loose for construction.
Mr. Osborn said the last item I have deals with MediCount Management. We bill out our paramedic and life squad runs and we use a third party to administer the billing for those runs. The contract with that company has expired. It slipped by us because there was an automatic renewal and weíve extended beyond the life of the contract. Weíd like to bring in an ordinance awarding the contract to the same company because they have agreed to continue the same service at no increase in cost. We have found their services to be very satisfactory. This is a sensitive area that could become a very offensive problem for our residents if itís not handled properly and we think the company has shown the proper sensitivity to their responsibilities over the past few years and weíd like to re-up with them.
Ms. Pollitt said I trust that none of the residents who had problems with the water were in our new sewer area off of Kemper Road.
Mr. Osborn replied we didnít have any that we could immediately trace back to that work. One of the people who did not show up on the roster, whom I immediately called, was Mr. Norr. He did not get any water in his basement. There is still a lot of water flowing through his back yard. He did identify for us an inlet near Kemper Road that was being by-passed by the water. I asked the Public Works Director and Mr. Green, the inspector, to meet with Mr. Norr today and find out exactly where that was. We are going to make modifications to take even more water into that storm sewer system and not allow it to go through his back yard. Itís unfortunate that Mr. Norr had to have that water through his back yard, but given the volume of water that we had, Iím very pleased that he didnít have water in his basement and that tells me that that storm sewer system is working the way we wanted it to work.
Ms. Pollitt stated Iíve gotten comments from people who have driven by and say how nice it looks.
Mr. Osborn said we did have two locations on West Kemper Road that had water in basements and we are looking into those. I asked Public Works to make sure that this water in the basements on Kemper Road was not the result of anything we did or failed to do.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Charter Revision - January 10
Planning Commission - January 11
Board of Health - January 13
Board of Zoning Appeals - January 18
Mayorís Night In - January 26, 6-8 p.m.
Mr. Schneider introduced Tim Garry who will be covering for Mr. Schneider at the next meeting. Mr. Schneider said Mr. Garry has been with the firm for five months. He is the retired Law Director of Norwood. He has been working on Springdale matters and other governmental matters in our firm and previously with his other law firm.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Zoning Regulations - January 19
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
HVAC contract - January 19
Vacation of McClellanís Lane - January 19
Medicount Management contract - January 19
Mr. Danbury made a motion for the Council to go into meeting as a committee of the whole for discussion of real estate matters. Mr. Galster seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes. Council went into executive session at 10:07.
Council adjourned at 10:31 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council