President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on March 19, 2003, at 7:05 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 Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of March 4, 2003 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - no report
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works - Mr. Wilson said the SR 4 ODOT resurfacing is scheduled for May. There is no set date for the start of the East Crescentville Road project.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements - Mr. Danbury reported the streetscape project is almost completed. We expect to get the trees by late March and be done by mid April. The second item is the Kemper Road Phase II Old Commons Drive to Chesterdale project. It should be completed by late August. Work has begun again on the Sharon Road intersection with a completion date of early May. ODOT is going to re-bid the grade separation this fall.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster stated the first item on the agenda was CVS Pharmacy for a final PUD development plan. Council has seen this plan and we are trying to get it to a final plan. The applicant asked to table it so we did. There was a concept discussion for a proposed condominium at 309 West Kemper Road. It is presently single family residential. It has two houses up for sale. She was making the case based on the fact that there was multi-family behind it and thought this was a good tie-in. However, she didn’t get much support from Planning Commission. It seemed like postage-stamp zoning so there was no positive feedback for allowing that change to multi-family use. There was a zoning map amendment for 1311 East Kemper Road to General Business. There is an A-frame building and office building. The present zoning of the office building is OB and they want to change it to General Business to allow a retail environment. We tried to convince the applicant to look at a possible PUD and at his request it was tabled. There was a conditional use permit for a proposed drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts. We didn’t have an owner’s affidavit to really review the project. We had some drawings and general information. That was tabled also.
Board of Zoning Appeals – Mr. Squires said AmPac Plastics requested a variance to construct two 31 feet silos to hold resin located 16 feet from the property line. The variance was granted 7-0. We tabled a variance to construct a patio enclosure at 12027 Benadir Road 15 feet from the property line. The patio enclosure is 90% complete and no permit application was ever filed for its construction. There are several building issues. The owner tabled the request until after talking with the Building Official. We approved a variance to construct a 12’ x 14’ utility building at 687 Cloverdale. This is an exceptionally large lot. We approved our own guidelines for the Board of Zoning Appeals. The last item was a letter from the Legal Department explaining that once a variance is granted, it runs with the land and we can’t put any time constraints on it, change it or revoke.
Mr. Galster asked if the silo holding the resin is flammable. Mr. Squires replied it is flammable but it has a fire rating of one.
Mr.Galster said at the request of another member on your board I was requested to ask a question of Mr. Schneider in reference to an e-mail they would receive from somebody on a public hearing that has their name and address, and they are opposed to it, when is the proper time to read that into the record, or is it proper to read it into a record?
Mr. Schneider replied I would have to check and see if there is anything in the rules of the commission. If there isn’t, the chairman has the choice as to when to accept and for what circumstances. It goes for what it is, a non-challengeable type statement. It is weighted as a statement from that person as to what their opinion is. That should be the full weight of it. Since it’s a public meeting I don’t see anything wrong with the chairman allowing it to be presented as just what it is. It’s a correspondence from a citizen. We always want to hear from our citizens.
Mr. Squires said that’s the way the majority of the board looked at that. There were one or two who had strong feelings about whether it should be admitted into the record but it was by a vote. You are saying it’s strictly up to the chairman.
Mr. Schneider responded normally but the chair can be challenged by the members. A vote by a majority could reverse the chairman’s decision.
Mr. Squires asked what are they storing at the property on Cloverdale? Is it for a business?
Mr. Squires replied he has very large yard equipment. He doesn’t use it at his employment.
Mr. Osborn stated AmPac, formerly known as AmCo, has had the two silos on the north side of the building under variance so it’s not a new issue to seek a variance for their silos. Unless AmPac has changed their manufacturing process, the materials that AmCo used and stored in their silos were biodegradable so they made an environmentally friendly product. Their material storage is less hazardous than you might think for a plastic production facility. They have a long history with the City and have been good stewards so I think it was a good decision.
Board of Health - no report
Veteran’s Memorial Committee – Mr. Wilson said they did a final review of the memorial sketch. We also had a lengthy discussion about fund raising for the memorial.
Mr. Danbury asked what kind of money are you talking about? Mr. Galster replied $850,000 to construct the project. We’d probably have to raise $1 million to do the whole project.
Mr. Danbury said Mr. Galster reported that you are in the process of establishing an organization. Has that been done?
Mr. Galster responded we have a fund raising committee that consists of the three Council people. Until we get our tax exempt form to where the donations can be tax deductible, there really is not a whole lot of ability to go out and solicit the funds. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done ahead of time. Part of expanding that committee is trying to find out whom inside and outside the community who can help us reach that goal we should try to get on the committee. The selection process for that committee is probably another two to three months down the road.
Mr. Danbury asked at what point would construction start?
Mr. Wilson replied a lot would depend on how soon we get the money. Mr. Galster said our commitment is to raise the funds before we build it. I’d like to say it’s going to be 100% financed before we move any dirt.
O-K-I – Mr. Knox said the March meeting was canceled with no explanation.
Mayor’s Report – Mayor Webster said I was approached by the Princeton Board of Education and they would like to come in and address Council once again and give you an update on where they stand on the campaign for the bond issue in May. I told them April 2 unless the chair had a problem with that.
Mayor Webster said the City was approached by a company called Engel Maps about producing an updated City map. (Mayor Webster showed Council the map). This would be paid for by the business community. All they wanted from me was a letter saying it was an approved City project. They’re proposing to print 7,000 maps. We’ll have some here to hand out.
Mr. Wilson said since they are going to our businesses soliciting ads and making a profit, would they either give us a percentage of the profit or allow us to sell these?
Mayor Webster replied we’re supposed to give those away. It’s not a money-making project.
Mr. Wilson said this looks like it will be quite profitable and maybe we would get a piece of the action for allowing them to do it. How about they make a contribution to the Veteran’s Memorial?
Mayor Webster answered good idea, I’ll ask them.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director – Mr. Knox said I miscounted my weeks when we advertised for the public hearing for Ordinance 12. I only allowed 23 days instead of 30 so we’ll have to re-advertise and the earliest we can hold the hearing is May 7. I received a letter from the Liquor Control Board asking if there are any locations that hold liquor licenses to which we object. I contacted the Administration and Chief of Police. The Chief says there have been some citations during the year but nothing that would make us want to oppose any of the liquor licenses. I’d like to send back to the Liquor Board that everything is reasonable. (Council did not object.)
Mr. Knox continued I attended a meeting of what is now the Northern Cincinnati Convention and Visitor’s Bureau on February 24. At that time we adopted the Code of Regulations and came up with a temporary president who will preside until the next meeting. At that time permanent officers will be elected. The Northern Cincinnati Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is allowed a seat on the Convention Facility Authority and Mr. Paul Brehm, the Economic Director of Forest Park was elected to that position.
We received an Order of State Bulletin. As of April 7 the Then and Now Statements limits have been raised from $1,000 to $3,000.
Mr. Knox reported twice I have attended the House Ways and Means Committee. Every time we think we know what they are talking about up there, we go back to another meeting and something else comes up. The ex-head of the committee came up with a list of things that this bill would do. I took a close look at it and discussed it with Mr. Williams, briefed the Mayor on some of these things. They seem to think that the total effect of what they are going to do, the gains and losses will equal out for all 541 municipalities. They want to change the definition of taxable income to block 5 on a W-2. That would cost us money because we use the highest gross income. For most people block 5 and the gross income are the same, but there are a number of people with different plans and those numbers differ. They want to allow charitable deductions made by corporations and companies to be subtracted from their income which we do not have in our tax code. The worst thing is that they want to change the net operating loss period from three years to five years. Mr. Williams and I tried to figure out how we could come up with a number on that and it depends on what the losses are to begin with. We have three minuses for sure and three question marks. They want to utilize a centralized extension location and a centralized filing location. This sounds all well and good. The businesses would send the information to the State; the State would simply pass it through to the communities. They said they would get the money to us in one to two business days which also changed and became two to three business days. The real problem is that the tax offices look in one place to find out if a company or person has filed their taxes. If this goes through, they will have to look in two places. This doesn’t sound like a lot but we had 13,156 such cases last year. We have a Cincinnati mailing address. Who knows where our money will go? We had good representation. Mr. Raussen is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He asked some good questions and is very forthright in trying to protect municipalities. He is joined by Representative Tyrone Yates of Cincinnati and a wonderful gentleman from Toledo by the name of Ugabi. I think we are fighting an uphill battle because they seem to have their minds made up. They are proposing this to take place starting in 2005 and become mandatory in 2007.
Mr. Knox said each of you will receive a letter from our auditors. Please cooperate with them and return those letters to them.
Administrator’s Report – Mr. Osborn said our contract with Next Step Networking expires April 1st. We’ve had them as our support services for computers for the past ten years. We have found them to be very reliable and we’d like to renew the contract. The proposed contract will go up by 6% to $50,580. The number of our work stations on the network increased by 6% over the past year. We request an ordinance with an emergency clause on April 2nd authorizing the renewal of that agreement.
Mr. Osborn continued we have another Zoning Code amendment recommended by Planning Commission. The topic is post secondary educational uses. The City has several post secondary educational uses in various districts but our code is silent on it. The amendment will confirm that the post secondary educational facilities are identified as principally permitted uses in OB, GB, MS, SS and GI districts. We would request that a public hearing date be set for the publication of this amendment.
Mr. Galster said if there was going to be a post secondary education facility in the General Business zoning then it would have to be educating about General Business. It couldn’t be an oil change place. It has to match the use of the zoning that is in the district of which the post secondary education is.
Mr. Osborn said GE has a training center off Century Boulevard and that is an industrial district and they use it for training related to industrial production. The more generic issue is other types of training such as the Art Institute of Cincinnati. Those will be in the Office Building district.
Law Director’s Report - Mr. Schneider said I do get assistance from other members in my office and with the comment that was raised I would like to introduce Jeff Forbes, one of my partners, who happened to do that very fine job that you complimented on. He has worked with us on Springdale matters for two years. He wanted to come out and see what Council looks like since he’s worked with you on a lot of the projects we’ve had.
Engineer’s Report - no report
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCE NO. 12-2003 "AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE SPRINGDALE CODE OF ORDINANCES TO AMEND TITLE XV, CHAPTER 153, ARTICLE 2 DEFINITIONS "USE, CONDITIONAL": TO AMEND TITLE XV, CHAPTER 153, ARTICLE 43, SECTION 153.444 FINAL PLAN OF A DEVELOPMENT AREA; TO AMEND TITLE XV, CHAPTER 153, ARTICLE 48, SECTION 153.490 PERMITTED ACCESSORY USES – OFFICE, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRIAL DISTRICTS; TO AMEND TITLE XV, CHAPTER 153, ARTICLE 48, SECTION 153.491 ACCESSORY USES NOT PERMITTED; TO AMEND TITLE XV, CHAPTER 153, ARTICLE 52, SECTION 153.531 SIGN REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL DISTRICTS"
First reading. Public hearing to be held May 7, 2003.
ORDINANCE NO. 13-2003 "VACATING McCLELLANS LANE ON THE NORTHERLY SIDE OF KEMPER ROAD AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE ANY AND ALL DOCUMENTS NECESSARY FOR SAID VACATION"
Mayor Webster said I was hoping to understand this by looking at Exhibit A. Does someone have a map?
Mr. Osborn showed Mayor Webster a map. Mr. Osborn said this is the residue of the right-of-way that used to support McClellan’s Lane. The length of the right-of-way is 304.3 feet and its width is 37.3 feet depending on where you are on the right-of-way. It’s a relatively small piece of right-of-way. We held onto it when we vacated the rest of McClellan’s Lane right-of-way because Costco was under development. There was a dispute going on with Costco and the owner of the property that eventually became Mike’s Car Wash. The issues were: one, we were insisting that Costco have their outlet to Kemper at a specific point, that being the McClellan’s Lane right-of-way. But without a cross easement agreement with the adjoining property owner (at that time, a church) they wouldn’t be guaranteed that access. Secondly, we were in a dialog with the attorney for the property owner regarding access issues and the fact that there was a claim by them that we were eliminating access onto Kemper Road for them. To resolve both issues we retained this portion of the right-of-way. It assured Costco an outlet and it was an argument for us with the zoning attorney who was representing the church as to what power the City had to control access. We were hoping and finally did see a cross easement agreement so that both parties could have access over this right-of-way. The cross easement agreement was executed on January 26, 2002. The former church property is occupied by Mike’s and we have all the access issues resolved. There is no longer a need for the City to hold this right-of-way and it’s been the plan all along to vacate it once we overcame these issues with the two developers.
Mr. Shuler said when Mike’s Car Wash was going through Planning Commission there was an agreement with Planning Commission that they would dedicate additional right-of-way along Kemper Road. We were also waiting for that to happen before we brought this in. They have made that donation and that right-of-way dedication has been accepted and filed. All requirements for this have been met.
RESOLUTION R6-2003 "COMMENDING ROBERT POSEGA FOR HIS DEDICATION AND SERVICE TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mayor Webster said I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chief Posega for everything he did for the City. Even though he was the second paid fire chief, if I recall, the first one was pretty short tenure. He provided the guidance to take our fire department from a volunteer to paid force. We have one of the finer fire departments in the country and a lot of credit for that goes to Chief Posega and the innovating things he instituted over there. We will be eternally grateful to him for many years to come.
Mr. Vanover said not only was his involvement in the realm of the Fire Department but he was highly active at the Rec Center.
Mr. Danbury said not only did he start from scratch with the paid unit but our rating is one of the tops you can get. He built it from the ground up, the paramedics, EMTs, etc. I don’t think a lot of people realize all that he has done for the City. Bob, we thank you and good luck on retirement.
Mr. Knox said Mr. Danbury hit on a good thing. We have the lowest fire rating we can possible get. Chief Posega had an awful lot to do with that. He was an excellent leader and you can always tell leadership by what happens to people when they’re not there. I can remember when the Fire Department went out there and saved lives and property damage.
Mr. Osborn stated when we were looking to hire a fire chief shortly after we lost the first one, we realized that we needed someone who was experienced, dynamic and could hit the ground running. He was on our short list and I traveled to a borough just outside Pittsburgh and without announcing who I was I went a drug store, barber shop, etc. and asked what people thought of the fire chief. He was well respected within the community. We brought him on and I had the pleasure of working with him for twenty years. He is very much responsible for the advance we have made over the past twenty years. I regret that he couldn’t be here this evening.
Mr. Wilson said our City has one of the lowest in the tri-state. The only city having a lower rating is Cincinnati. It has to do with equipment, paramedics, proximity to fire houses. For us to be as low as we are is very commendable. We have Chief Posega to thank for that.
Mr. Osborn said the only way we can get a lower rating is to build a second station on the east side of town. We don’t have a real problem with response time. We have distance issues with ISO.
Resolution R6-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R7-2003 "RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF WEST FORK MILL CREEK WATERSHED ACTION PLAN"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Ms. Pollitt asked if the City In response to Ms. Pollitt’s question about future funding, Mr. Osborn said there are funds called 319 grants. To be eligible for the grants the entire watershed has to adopt an action plan. We chose to do it by sub-basins. Once they are all in place, the Mill Creek will once again be eligible to apply for 319 grants.
Mrs. Pollitt asked then this wouldn’t be coming out of our general fund?
Mr. Osborn replied no, there are commitments here that might cause us to undertake certain programs or policies that may result in costs to the City. But these are the same action steps that we have already committed to under a Phase II permit application.
Resolution R7-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury said we are on the brink of history making tonight. I am behind the president. I think we definitely need to go in and take out Saddam Hussein. But there’s going to be repercussions; we just don’t know where. At one time the City was looking at a disaster plan. Could we revisit that sometime so Council would know what would happen if something should happen?
Mr. Osborn replied we do have a disaster plan. It’s to some degree event specific. Mostly it frames the City’s response to an emergency. When you get into specific types of events such as the discharge of a chemical or biological contaminant, I have to tell you, we may be the first responders but all we can do is put up a perimeter. Under those types of circumstances we would have to bring in the National Guard to assist us. In the case of something like smallpox, we won’t know there is an issue until people are congregating at the hospitals. I don’t want people to have a false impression that their local government is prepared to deal with these types of events. We’re not. If you think about it, we do our best to put enough police and fire personnel on the street to deal with the problems we have to meet as a local jurisdiction. To assume that we have the resources to deal with any type of event that might occur, we will never be prepared to do that. We have tried to position ourselves to know who to turn to and how quickly we can get them here. We’ve also had a presentation by that National Guard Unit that would handle biological and chemical events.
Mr. Danbury asked is there anything you or Chief Laage could come in and talk about?
Mr. Osborn replied I could ask Chief Laage if he feels there are some things we could put together for a presentation to Council. I’m not sure it’s an extensive list. We do share intelligence on this type of issue but unless we are notified by someone else we are not going to know that a particular cell has become active or come across the border. That will have to be fed to us by a federal agency. I want to make sure nobody goes away with the feeling that our City can deal with all this. We can’t. We don’t have the resources, the training or the personnel.
Mr. Danbury said the reason I asked is that they raised the security risk level. I think most citizens ask what can I do, how does that affect me? I just want to repeat something after 9-11. If something does happen here I just hope people don’t look at any and all Muslims or someone from that area that live here and say they are part of that organization. A lot of those people are citizens of the United States and they feel the pain that we feel too.
Mr. Galster said I read an e-mail that my wife or kids had brought home from school. They had an action plan if there were a chemical or biological issue. I think that happens the majority of concern is where are my kids, how do I get in touch, etc. Maybe we could inform our public through our newsletter to get ahold of the school district to see what their plans are so we know their procedures.
Mr. Osborn stated we have talked about this internally if there was an event here. Chief Laage said their responsibility would be to control the perimeter. When I asked him what is your next step, he said send in the Fire Department. We do have some suits that will allow us under certain conditions to do that type of penetration, but again, it’s going to be more related to heavier equipped people like the National Guard to deal with this.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Zoning Appeals - April 15
Opening Day - April 12
Board of Health - April 10
Employee Recognition Night - March 22
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 12 - April 16
Ordinance 13 - April 2
Amending Zoning Code as applies to post secondary education April 16
Amending Code of Ordinances regarding solicitation open
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council