Acting President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on October 21, 1998 at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Knox gave the invocation.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Galster, Manis, Pollitt, Vanover, Wilson and McNear. Mr. Danbury was absent.
The minutes of October 7, 1998 were approved with 6 affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
RULES AND LAWS - no report
PUBLIC RELATIONS - no report
PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE no report
PUBLIC WORKS – Mr. Vanover reported that the concrete work by R. A. Miller on the 1998 street program has been completed and the project review on the punch list preparation is taking place now.
PUBLIC UTILITIES - no report
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS – Ms. Manis said Phase I of the Kemper Road project has been completed. The Phase II information meeting was held October 14. Right-of-way negotiations will be between October and February. The final asphalt for Sharon Road has been placed. Construction of the HVAC system at the Police Department should be complete by November 25. The site work at the Public Works expansion is done except for the privacy fence gates seeding.
FINANCE COMMITTEE – Mr. Wilson reported they met October 15. The committee reviewed the five year budget packet line item by line item. The four sections we reviewed were the projected staffing levels for all departments in our City; capital improvement funds projections, projected revenues and operating levels and budget summary. We then went over the proposal for the funding of the Community Center expansion project, looking at two possible options or combinations of those. The decision was made to review this five year budget and expansion project with other members of Council.
PLANNING COMMISSION – Mr. Galster stated that they met October 13. Enterprise Rent-a-Car, 169 Northland Boulevard, proposed a garage addition. The applicant had requested to put up a garage for cleaning up their automobiles. This was basically a pole type structure. The majority of Planning Commission believed that the type of construction didn’t meet the existing building. At the applicant’s request this was tabled with a 6-1 vote.
The second item was the proposed tree replacement plan at Wendy’s, 400 Northland Boulevard which was tabled September 8, 1998. The applicant had removed fourteen trees on their property. Being in the corridor district that is not allowed. We tried to come up with a compromised to replace those trees. The applicant presented a proposal which included numerous plantings as well as a hedge along the parking lot. That was approved 6-1.
We had a pro rata share of the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission operating expenses for 1998. Planning Commission denied to participate in that group with a 7-0 vote.
We did have the preliminary plan presentation of the Community Center. There was a concern raised by Mr. Okum in reference to Planning Commission’s responsibility, in reference to the Charter specifically. The Planning Commission is supposed to be responsible for the adoption of park and playground master plans. We did have the legal department look at that to make sure that we were not proceeding improperly by not running it 100% through Planning Commission first. There is a master plan in place that has been approved. The Community Center is in line with that master plan; and therefore, all the reviews we have been giving Planning Commission have been for courtesy.
The last item was the approval of Plat 6B at Tri-County Commons Boulevard. This is a small piece of land between Target and the Sam’s Warehouse property that needed to be realigned. That was approved 6-0.
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS – Mrs. McNear said they met last evening. Clifford Gartzka, 11835 Mangrove Lane requested a variance to allow the placement of a satellite dish on his garage roof. This was already installed when we had it before us about two months ago. It was tabled originally because Mr. Gartzka is not the current owner, although he is in the process of purchasing this piece of property. We did have to wait until we got permission from the current owner and then we found out that if his dish was 1 meter or less, then it did not require a variance so we tabled it 7-0 until we get the drawings from the people who installed the dish.
Northside Bank requested to have a 48" x 20" double-sided ancillary sign to announce their ATM machine. We tabled that at the last meeting because they also did not own the property and we had to get permission from the trustees. However, they did send us a note saying they had decided to put up a sign that was in compliance so the request was withdrawn. BZA had sent this to Planning Commission because we thought it was a use that didn’t comply with the restaurant they were adding this to but it was sent back to us.
Robert Whitesell, 108 Harter Avenue requested a variance for a patio enclosure to extend 32 feet from the rear property line. The code requires 40 feet. This was not an addition to the property, just an enclosed patio. This was granted 7-0.
Coomer’s Craft Mall, 455 East Kemper Road, requested a variance to allow the placement of craft items on the sidewalk. We actually did have two items like this. Michael’s Arts and Crafts in the same complex, came in for the same item. There was a lot of discussion about this last night. Some retailers have put things out on the sidewalk even though the City has demanded that they remove them. Some people have been fined for it and Michael’s was one of them. The one thing we had discussion about is that the big stores could take the $100 fine to get the business from having these things, but it is against our code. We did deny both of these items last night. One thing we had discussed was that we need to bring this to Council and put more bite into this. We tell these businesses that they have to remove these items and when the weekend comes around and there are no people from the Building Department the itmes are back out. We have vast amounts of businesses in the City who are using sidewalks. They are allowed to do it a couple of times a years; however, some places do it every single weekend.
Mayor Webster said I don’t know what degree of misdemeanor that is. Mrs. McNear replied it is a fine of $100 and can be levied each day.
Mayor Webster said we have attempted to do that when there is an ongoing violation and even though the code says we can levy a fine every single day they are in violation, we have been taken to court on that and have lost. I think we need to increase the degree of misdemeanor.
Mr. Galster said we don’t really have an enforcement policy for the situation at Wendy’s where they cut down the trees. We have a policy for when a new business comes in and takes out trees, they have to replace 50% of them. Unfortunately, if we apply that to Wendy’s circumstances, next year they can cut them all down again, put in 50%, cut them down, put in 50%. Eventually, there are no trees left. We need some kind of penalty for people who cut the trees down without permits and get 100% replacement possibly and a fine to go with it.
BOARD OF HEALTH – Ms. Pollitt said they passed the tattoo and body piercing regulation. The Health Commissioner’s report included the five year budget plan, nuisance animal control report and the public health nurse’s report was for the new immunization policy and the infant immunizations that will begin in January.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION - no report
O-K-I - no report
Mr. Galster asked would O-K-I be the organization involved with any permanent truck ban on I-75 and I-71.? I talked with Mr. Osborn and would like for us to be aware of it before anything happens. Ms. Manis replied she didn’t know.
MAYOR’S REPORT – Mayor Webster said Tony Neumeister, who was a long term member and chairman of the Civil Service Commission from 1974 to 1982 passed away this past weekend. Our condolences go out to his widow and his children.
Mayor Webster said I think everyone is in receipt of a copy of the documents Mr. Wilson alluded to. We really would like to see that scheduled for discussion for Council, not a line item detail, but I am proposing that we have a public open discussion about the debt that we project we will incur and how we would like to repay that. We have been asked that in a public forum and I think we will probably get asked that again. I would like Council to go on record as setting a direction.
Mrs. McNear suggested they discuss it at the next meeting.
Mayor Webster said we also lost a long term volunteer firefighter, Mr. Stan Dessinger who lived on Ledro. He served the City well for many years.
Also, we are in the process of forming a year 2000 compliance committee to look after the interests of the City to identify things that may go wrong. Mr. Osborn is going to kick that off with the department directors in the morning.
CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR no report
ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT – Mr. Osborn said you may recall that the W. O. Brisben Companies, Inc. is proposing to refund the tax exempt bonds that they obtained through the Ohio Housing Finance Authority in 1996. The bonds were issued for the renovation of the Hunters Glen complex. The process of refinancing of these bonds opened up a comment opportunity to us to that agency and I have prepared a letter for Council’s signature.
The bid opening for the Community Center parking lot was held on October 14. There were three bidders and the lowest bid was Westside Paving at $286,871. This is the first step in the renovation of the Community Center. The engineer’s estimate on this work was $344,802 so we’ve picked up $60,000 on the five year budget without even getting into the year yet. This contract is before you in Ordinance 62-1998 and we request Council’s favorable consideration so we can keep this project on track.
You may have heard news reports regarding the fact that the Best Western has been shut down because of a mold condition that was found in the building. Apparently this condition first came to the attention of the hotel in May 1998 and they engaged consultants to help them work with it. Unfortunately, it was never brought to the attention of our Health Department so we were not party to any work they had done to this point. However, our Health Commissioner found out about it Monday. At the time he found out about it, the hotel had already voluntarily closed the top five floors and a number of rooms on the third and fourth floors. In the Health Commissioner’s conversation with a representative of the owner there were discussions as to the nature of the problem and at the conclusion of the discussion the hotel elected to voluntarily shut down the entire premise during the time that this problem is being addressed. We know the problem results from water seeping into the building, primarily in the upper floors through cracks or open spaces in the wall system of the building. There was some effort a year or so ago to do some caulking but the contractor may not have followed appropriate procedures. Apparently, the hotel thought they had this leaking problem fixed two years ago and evidence resurfaced again in May. The hotel is closed until they can define the scope of the problem and what the solution is.
Ms. Manis said the $60,000 savings on the paving comes off the total construction for the expansion.
Mr. Osborn stated that it’s a long way to the end of that project. It certainly credits towards the total outcome.
LAW DIRECTOR’S REPORT - no report
Mr. Schneider requested an executive session to discuss acquisition of property.
ENGINEER’S REPORT – Mr. Shuler said Ms. Manis reported that the contractor has completed construction on Kemper Road Phase I. The last part of that project will be the replacement of the street trees. Mr. Butsch is coordinating that project and the new trees should be planted by the end of November.
We are anxious to get the parking lot work started because of the lateness of the time of year. We want to get as much done as we can before bad weather sets in. We have a pre-construction meeting set up already in anticipating of approval of this ordinance tonight so we are recommending this contractor and request your support on Ordinance 62.
Letter to City of Springdale, Attention Mr. Osborn: On behalf of both my sister, Hilda Dennison, 554 West Kemper Road, and myself, we wish to thank the city, its employees involved in the storm sewer work on Kemper Road and the contractors for a wonderful job. The work was done in such a professional and timely manner and the results of the project are wonderful. Having this work done will alleviate so many long term problems. Again, our thanks. Gertrude Seiter, 11640 Greenlawn
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Buck Wilkins, Ledro Street, said I had the pleasure of being before you last year to recognize Mr. Brown, who retired from the Police Department. I just wanted to come back and express some concerns that the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Watch has. Also with me are two residents of Heritage Hill, Joyce Huff and Michele Walters. At our last meeting Councilman Vanover gave us some details of the paperwork process Council was considering with regards to Hunters Glen and their refinancing. We appreciate the manner in which Council and the City has addressed those concerns over there. Over the last several years there has been a significant increase in the juvenile pedestrian traffic from Crescentville on the north to the Heritage Hill neighborhood on the south. That traverses a great deal of Heritage Hill. A lot of the more geriatric people who live in those neighborhoods have addressed concerns at our meetings and have let us know that at times they feel somewhat intimidated. We know that there has been a significant increase in the number of calls for law enforcement services in the Hunters Glen area in the last couple of years. We continue to remain active and meet monthly. We will implement a 3-4 man team of neighbors on foot patrol in the area for Halloween night. We found it to be successful in reducing and minimizing acts of vandalism and the threats of older juveniles to the younger treat or treaters. We’ve had some very nice compliments from the neighbors on this.
Mayor Webster said I would like to thank that entire group over there. You really provide a great service to the City and augment the effort our Police Department puts forth. We’re very grateful for that. I suggest we read for the record the letter that Mr. Osborn has put together. It lets the community know our position on this.
Mr. Osborn said we’ve used your group as an example when we’ve been approached by other neighborhoods about how can they organize, what can they do, can they be effective? We’ve told them that we feel that what you are doing there is the type of effort we are very happy to support and we feel it is having a positive influence.
Letter to Mr. Vincent Lombardi, Chairman of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Dear Sir: We were recently advised by Mr. Robert Shuler, Vice-President, W. O. Brisben Companies, Inc. by certified correspondence postmarked 2 October 1998 that the City has the right to submit comments to your agency regarding the impact that the Hunters Glen housing project is having on our community. While we do not necessarily oppose the refunding of the 1996 tax exempt bonds, we do want to take this opportunity to go on record regarding the serious public safety issues plaguing that complex. As the enclosed records demonstrate, there has been a dramatic and alarming increase in violent criminal activity as well as the overall number of public safety runs at this apartment complex since it came under the ownership and management of W. O. Brisben Companies, Inc. Looking at police runs we see the overall details increasing as follows: 1994 – 449 details; 1995 – 418; 1996 – 489; 1997 – 449; 1998 through September – 718. If the year to date figures are annualized, it results in a total of 957 for 1998, almost a 100% increase over the next highest year. On average, it also represents 1.9 police detail per apartment unit in one year. Even more alarming is the rapid growth of serious criminal offenses designated as Part 1 offenses under the Uniform Criminal Reporting System. During the six year period prior to the Brisben Companies’ acquisition of the property, it averaged 40 Part 1 offenses per year. Since that time, the numbers have been: 1996 – 49; 1997 – 95; 1998 through September – 128. Again, if the 1998 figure is annualized, it results in 170 Part 1 offenses for the year. With 379 apartments in this complex this works out to a ratio to .45 Part 1 offenses for every unit on the property. Clearly this level of criminal activity is a serious threat to the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Hunters Glen. This situation also represents a dramatic impact on the resources of the City of Springdale. In addition to the significant increase in the number and serious nature of police details as outlined above, current conditions at the complex also directly affect the City’s emergency medical services. During the first nine months of 1998 we had 58 EMS runs to Hunters Glen. These runs have included cases where our EMS personnel have treated injuries related to assaults, 4; overdoses, 3; domestic violence, 1. In comparison we selected 1995 at random and found that we had a total of 49 runs for the entire year with no patients being treated for assault, overdose or domestic violence. These numbers also serve to underscore the deteriorating conditions at Hunters Glen. We are requesting that your agency use whatever resources it has at its disposal to bring about changes in the management practices at this facility that will address the critical threat to the safety and well-being of the residents. As an example, we are requesting that the owner be required to provide on-site security. Previous requests by the Springdale Police Department proposing such on-site security has been unsuccessful. We also request that the owner be required to screen prospective tenants in order to eliminate those persons who have significant criminal history. It is our understanding that such screening practices are routine procedure for many large subsidized housing facilities. Finally, we request that your agency audit this project to determine that it is in compliance in all standards set out in your regulations related to the health, safety and welfare of the tenants. Your assistance and cooperation in addressing this critical matter will be greatly appreciated by the people of Springdale, Ohio.
Mr. Osborn said the letter would be signed by all the members of Council. I might add that in the text of the letter, while we indicate that we don’t necessarily oppose the refinancing, we go on to make comments. The reason we don’t oppose the financing is, if that refinancing is turned down nothing changes. The existing financing in place stays in place. This is a gesture on our part to say to the developer and this body that we’re not out to suggest that there should not be subsidized housing in this community. We are suggesting that we want it managed effectively and with a sensitivity to the community in terms of the impact it is having on our residents. We’ve tried to make the letter very strong, straightforward and well-documented and hopefully, we will get some response from the agency regarding our request.
Mr. Wilson said we have four Princeton High School seniors in the audience tonight. They are in attendance as part of the government class project and I would like to recognize them: Leon Ben, Tyree Jackson, Amber Snead, and my son, Michael Wilson. I would like to welcome them and hopefully they will come to more Council meetings and bring their classmates.
ORDINANCE 62-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH WESTSIDE PAVING FOR THE SPRINGDALE COMMUNITY CENTER PARKING LOT EXPANSION AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded. Ordinance 62-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE 63-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH TERRY D. GAINES TO SERVE AS MAYOR’S COURT MAGISTRATE FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded. Ordinance 63-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE 64-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH JOHN H. FLESSA FOR PROSECUTING SERVICES FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded. Ordinance 64-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE 65-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH PATRICK J. GARRY FOR PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICES FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded. Ordinance 65-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said three people have asked for this service this year.
ORDINANCE 66-1998 "ORDINANCE AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO AMENDING CHAPTER 112 VENDORS AND SOLICITORS"
Mr. Osborn said there are two copies of this ordinance. The distinction comes under Section 112.15. Under 112.01 the definition of "distributor of advertising material" has been added to the chapter and on the last page 112.15 "Time Restrictions", a paragraph has been added to the existing ordinance that would set out hours during which distribution of advertising materials would be prohibited, which would be 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. each day. The second copy is accurate.
Ms. Manis asked do they all have to register with us?
Mr. Osborn replied no, we found we were getting into a very complex first amendment issue which would cause us to regulate any politician who goes door to door to distribute materials and the homeowners’ association handing out notices of upcoming meetings. We cannot begin regulating this area without affecting everybody who would fall under it. We cannot pick and choose who we impose this on by class. Once we found out how hard it would be to regulate an ordinance like that we fell back to regulating the hours that advertising material could be distributed. At the last Council meeting we went into this process with three objectives. We’ve come out with a solution to only one of those. Mr. Danbury brought up litter that results from the distribution of this material. We had hoped to require licensing and registration in order to get better control over that. Similarly we were going to do a registration so residents could elect not to have this material delivered to their houses, but this is different from solicitation. We do regulate charitable solicitation. I don’t think Council had envisioned something so comprehensive and invasive as a regulation where we would have to start having folks who are just distributing general information about the community, either elected officials, scout troops, homeowners’ associations having to register with the City before they handed out material.
Ms. Manis asked will the commercial solicitations who register be given the time frames involved?
Mr. Osborn replied once this ordinance is adopted we will contact the known distributors of material and put them on notice. From that point forward if someone comes in who works for them, then they are fair game. We’ll give everybody a first chance. The second time they are on notice.
ORDINANCE 67-1998 "REQUESTING CERTIFICATION TO ENFORCE THE OHIO BASIC BUILDING CODE WITHIN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Osborn said it’s been the history in our community and most small communities that have building departments that the inspection and issuance of permits for Type E facilities, which is educational facilities, were handled by the Ohio Industrial Relations Division of Factories and Buildings. This created a bit of a problem and in some cases a severe problem, in coordinating the inspection and review of a new facility because the local jurisdiction had health code and life safety code responsibilities. The Building Code was handled through Columbus. As a result an applicant had to deal with multiple agencies on the same project and up until recently the State was reluctant to turn this authority over to local jurisdictions.
Ordinance 67-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said I would like to get Council’s response on the letter to Vince Lombardi on the Brisben property. The Council members asked that the letter be passed around for signature.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
ICRC meeting October 22, 6:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Vanover made a motion for Council to go into a meeting as a whole to discuss real estate acquisition. Mr. Galster seconded. The motion passed with 6 affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:08 p.m. and reconvened at 8:23 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT AND RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Ordinance 66-1998 second reading November 4
Resolution for the appropriation of the Burns property November 4
Annual resolution accepting rates of Budget Commission November 4
Agenda item – 5 year budget
Mr. Jackson and Mr. Ben asked how fast do local politicians create changes and can it be improved?
Mr. Schneider said legislation is controlled by a Charter that governs how we’re structured and how we function in passing legislation. We are required two readings of every ordinance unless there is an exception. It takes thirty days for an ordinance to go into effect unless the Council has determined that it is an emergency. There are timeframes we have to adhere to because the law sets it out. I think it is good for young people to look forward to being on Council, not that we need to replace any of the Council people here. Improvement comes with new ideas, new people being involved, people who are interested coming to Council meetings and having their thoughts brought forth for Council and the Administration to consider.
Mayor Webster said I know of a lot of cities where it takes three readings of ordinances before they become law and then thirty days beyond that. I think we do things in a very expeditious fashion. It may seem to the general public that we just talk and talk and talk and don’t get anything done but I think that’s because all of us up here are pretty well dedicated to trying to solicit opinions from the people we represent.
Mr. Osborn said the timeframe the Law Director laid out has a purpose. It’s not just a matter of taking time to get an ordinance adopted. Its purpose is to keep the decisions of the elected body before the public. Council has the power to adopt an ordinance with an emergency clause which means it can be brought in without notice to the people, adopted that night and it’s a law. The process that has been laid out is to give the public the opportunity to be put on notice that a law is being adopted. That is part of the checks and balances that our government is founded on. It prevents any single entity from within a government from becoming so powerful that it can operate without the oversight of the electorate. It is difficult in a democracy to move along legislative decisions but it has a purpose. The thirty day period before a law goes into effect is to allow any citizen of Springdale to come before this Council and file a referendum petition and ask that the ordinance be put on the ballot before it becomes law.
Council adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council