President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on April 18, 2001, 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 Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of April 4, 2001 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission Ė Mr. Coleman reported that they met April 13. The Violations Bureau Clerk interviews were conducted on April 3 and 5 and completed on April 7. Ten certified names have now been forwarded for the next step in the process. The Civil Service Commission agreed to draft legislation granting authorization to waive the examination process in addition to the advertising process for the fitness manager position. The last day for accepting applications for the maintenance worker position was on Friday, April 6. One hundred twenty-seven applications were received for that position.
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works Ė Mr. Wilson stated that Adletta Construction has begun sidewalk and curb replacement in Heritage Hills and other subdivisions citywide. The pavement planning and resurfacing within the Heritage Hill subdivision as well as the resurfacing of Chesterdale Road will start in mid June and should be completed in early July. The anticipated schedule for the street program is for the entire project to be completed by late August.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Ė Mr. Danbury said CSX has agreed to revise the work agreement and the right-of-way acquisitions will be completed by July next year. It will be bid in September and they are looking to award the project in 2002. Construction will be 2002 to 2004. The construction of the new curbing at East Kemper Road at SR 747 has begun. It will require some lane closures during non-peak hours. The installations of the signals at SR 747 and Tri-County Parkway is also underway. This is scheduled to be completed in August 2001. We rejected the bid on the Walnut and Pear Street project. The project has been re-advertised and we are looking at a bid opening of April 24. The project will be awarded on May 2 and construction will start June 11, and will be completed August 10. The total project completion will be by September 28. The final design for the Springdale streetscape will be completed by September 2001 with a target construction in the spring of next year. The survey and geo-technical work for Kemper Road Phase II from Old Commons Drive to Chesterdale have been completed. Design of the roadway widening has begun. We look to do this in the spring of next year. The survey work is commencing right now on the Sharon Road bike path. Stage I will be in June, Stage II in July and Stage III in August. The final tracings will be submitted in November with construction next year. The construction of the Ross Park bridge will be in October. Mr. Shvegzda, do you think we can complete it before bad weather?
Mr. Shvegzda replied the only issue we really have to worry about is if there is excessively cold weather, they will have to protect any concrete work they do. However, there is usually less rainfall at that time so we wonít have to worry about a lot of work being interrupted within the channel.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission Ė Mr. Galster stated the first item was a request for additional signage at Samís Club. There was no representation and it was tabled 7-0. The Great Indoors requested approval for two different banners. They wanted one on their site at the old Kroger Candy Factory; the other at the old Blimpieís Subs at the corner of Chesterdale and Kemper. That was approved 7-0. Final plan approval of Springdale-Mason Pediatrics, 11350 Springfield Pike, was approved 7-0. The next item was concept discussion of a proposed redevelopment of The Soul Winning Church of God, 540 West Kemper Road. The conceptual plan was to make a rather large church building plus parking that would probably come within twenty feet of the residence on Smiley. That met with quite a bit of negativity from Planning Commission and the motion to deny passed 7-0. There was discussion regarding our participation in the Regional Planning Commission and Planning Partnership. The vote was unanimous to recommend to Council that the City of Springdale participate in this partnership.
Board of Zoning Appeals Ė Mr. Squires reported Michael Harvey, 12149 Benadir Road was awarded a variance to construct a 5í x 6í shed only three feet from the property line. The topography of his property does not allow the shed to be constructed in any location except the northwest corner. Anthony Salvato, 661 Park Avenue was granted a variance to construct a patio enclosure with only a 36í setback. Mr. Greg Neville was granted a variance to allow a front porch to extend ten feet into the front yard. The deck is already constructed and it improves his property. There are building codes that must be resolved that pertain to the construction of this deck and the owner will abide by these. Mr. Neville also requested a second variance to allow a garage construction of 896 square feet. Mr. Neville wants to relocate a garage from the adjacent property at 306 West Sharon. There were several issues before us on this and the item was tabled. The last item was a request by Cincinnati Computer Store, 149 Northland Boulevard for an extension of 180 days to park a twenty foot trailer on the property. The owner had been granted a variance on July 18, 2000 to keep the trailer there until January 1, 2001. Itís been there ever since. BZA allowed the trailer to remain until June 4, 2001.
Board of Health Ė Ms. Pollitt said the Board of Health meeting was a standard meeting with food service report and nuisance animal control report.
O-K-I no report
Mayorís Report Ė Mayor Webster said I received a communication from Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell. It reads: "Dear Mayor: The official 2001 census figures indicate that your municipality has a population of more than 5, 000 persons. Accordingly, I am sending you a proclamation of city status as required by Section 703.06 of the Ohio Revised Code. Please accept my best wishes for your communityís prosperity and development during this decade. If my office can be of assistance to you, please donít hesitate to contact us." Mayor Webster stated we are going to protest the official reading. They have us at 10,563 which would say we have lost about 500 residents. We have to wait until July to test the official census.
Mayor Webster read a proclamation proclaiming April 27, 2001 as Arbor Day. Mayor Webster said I urge all members of the community to join in recognizing this significant occasion. April 27 at 4:00 we will do our annual planting of a tree behind the Police Station.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Ė Mr. Knox said each elected member received a questionnaire from O-K-I asking for some information. If you like, when you complete the questionnaire, you can put it in my mail folder and the City can mail them back.
Administratorís Report - no report
Law Directorís Report - no report
Engineerís Report - no report
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
PRESENTATION - METRO MOVES - CARL PALMER
Mr. Osborn said our speaker is no stranger to you. Mr. Carl Palmer is Director of Transit Development for Metro. He was here several meetings back to discuss this very same topic. I think we are at a position where he can elaborate a little more on the outcome of that study. I imagine we can ask him questions specifically about how it will impact Springdale.
Mr. Palmer said the Metro Moves project is in response to Metro coming to terms with not having changed its pattern of service for over thirty years. The region has changed dramatically, developed dramatically over the last ten to fifteen years. We, at Metro, have not done our best to meet the transportation needs of this region. Metro Moves is a transportation enhancement plan. We began asking some very basic questions of the people in the region. Rather than taking the more traditional approach to develop a plan by using existing data, running a few surveys, etc., we decided it was best for us to go into the community and ask the people directly affected by this service what you think needs to be done to improve upon transit in this region. We conducted three major forums and more than forty outreach meetings. We interpreted this information and came up with the Metro Moves plan. We are currently in the process of going back to the community and asking "is this it?" We heard what you told us and we put together a plan. Mr. Palmer showed a video of Metro Moves. Mr. Palmer said people wanted more convenience, make it more attractive, donít make me come downtown when I need to get to Blue Ash. The people were telling us we need to move from east to west as commonly as our current service moves north and south. They were also telling us that all the jobs, medical facilities, and training opportunities are not just in downtown Cincinnati. People want flexibility, convenience, comfort. Central to making that happen is the transit hub network system. These hubs are just more than transfer centers. They become destinations in and of themselves. We made visits to Louisville, Minneapolis, Dayton, and Columbus and looked at hubs. Day care, job training, coffee shops, car care centers can be housed there. Our feeling is to develop these hubs throughout the region as a means to make connections between east, west, north and south as well as to make it comfortable, easy to use. We are recommending twenty-six hubs throughout the region. We donít have a specific site for each of these hubs. The specific siting of any of these hubs is going to be a cooperative venture between Metro and the community involved. One of the areas that is growing considerably is the Tri-County/Springdale area. We are recommending a hub to be located in the Tri-County area for a number of reasons, among them, access from housing to transit, express service into downtown, shuttle services from the hub to operate throughout the neighborhoods taking people to their jobs.
Mr. Palmer said we want to take these hubs and link them with routes. Looking at the Springdale the line begins in the Beechmont area, moving along I-275 and coming across Pfeiffer Road, up Reed Hartman Highway into Kemper Road and Springdale. Coming in from the west, it starts in Western Hills, going northward, then east towards I-275 and Kemper Road. If we want to be competitive and responsive to the needs of the traveling public, we will have to make it easier. The neighborhood shuttle service would be a low-floor, small bus with easy access for the elderly and disabled. Reverse commute is a big issue that came to us as well. People have a need to come from Cincinnati to Springdale or other areas for job opportunities and return in the evening. Uptown/downtown direct services are services we recommend to operate all day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. People feel if they take the service downtown and have to leave for an emergency, there is no way to get back to the parking lot without taking the 20 or a cab. The uptown service is focused on the University of Cincinnati complex area, the second largest employer in our region. We donít have enough service going into part of that area during off-peak hours. We are recommending that all day express service be directed into the medical complex/university area. One of our direct services will cross the river into the Covington area. We think we will have a very workable and responsive network of services. During the first fourteen months of our five-phase plan, we recommend doing some things now that will not cost a lot of money. Right now we have a transfer system that has a very limited time frame to it. A person using it could not get off the bus and then use it to get back on going the same direction. We are recommending a two- hour pass for the hub network system. We are also looking at the prospects of a flat fare to complement the universal transfer system. At the end of June will bring to a close this outreach program and see if there is a regional funding base to support it. The cost of putting this in place is $108,000 to $198,000. The operation of this system will cost an additional $34 million.
Mr. Danbury said I was looking at some of the hubs. Would a person coming from the Springdale hub have a more direct route available to Anderson than going through other hubs and changing buses?
Mr. Palmer replied they would stay on the same bus all the way around. If they were going to Madisonville, they would have to change buses at the hub at Glendale-Milford Road.
Mr. Danbury said I think your estimate for putting the hubs in is low. When you look at Tri-County area, Springdale, West Chester, the rates for square footage are very intense. I know you have a lot of Park and Rides. Are you going to use those same locations?
Mr. Palmer replied we are looking for some place else. We are also looking for joint development. The estimate may be low. We are basing it on past experiences and what we have found to be the case in other areas. We are relying considerably on federal, capital grants to develop these hubs. If the real estate costs look like they are getting onerous, we will look at the entire system and we may have to put some things off. One of the reasons we are spending so much time in the communities is if we have open dialog and we have to start making trade-offs, weíll all have an understanding that certain things have to be delayed.
Ms. Pollitt said Iím one of the people who has to commute every day to UC. Parking is limited and itís expensive to park, but Iíve not found that Iíve been able to ride the bus downtown and make a timely transfer to Clifton so this would be a welcome addition. You were talking about the communities that would be served by the shuttle. Are you going to survey the residents to ask what they need? How are you going to collect this information?
Mr. Palmer responded we are going to have community meetings. We need your help in getting the people out. The design, the routing, whether we take an interim step, etc. all will be community decisions. The low floor bus we are recommending because we found it to be more flexible and serviceable on a neighborhood circulated basis.
Ms. Pollitt said the east and west is an excellent idea. I have ridden the bus a couple of times and you have to be right on time for your connections or you are waiting another fifteen or twenty minutes for the next bus. Getting into an area and then taking the shuttle has a lot of benefits. Have you thought about a flat monthly rate with a pass that you could board at any time?
Mr. Palmer replied we are recommending a smart card, which is like a debit card. You could buy one for any amount you want. Having a flat fare will make it a lot easier with the card.
Mayor Webster said I would like to congratulate the movers and shakers who have made this happen. The people in this area have been somewhat spoiled over the years because we have a pretty good interstate system that has been federally funded. Thereís no money out of our pockets to support those roadways to get us to and from work. To and from has always been north and south and back home at night. Anyone who thinks we can continue to build wider roads is very foolish. Thatís not going to happen. We are going to have to bite the bullet on public transportation. This area of the country is way behind most of the other metropolitan areas in the country. Other places have a much better system and it is used more. Do you build it and the riders will be there? I think it is a great plan and I wish you well. I am concerned about the financing. You get .3 of a percentage point from Cincinnati earnings tax but you get no county funding. Do you think that will happen or will you ask for an operating levy?
Mr. Palmer said at this point we really donít know. Our plan is to introduce this plan and get feedback from the community to see if there is any level of receptivity to the idea of a tax levy of some type to support this project. Light rail is in the mix with that. Light rail came up many times in the survey responses. Taking that into consideration and other projects that may require tax dollars, we just donít know what we ought to do at this point. We are going to take a poll this summer and get input from meetings such as this. Our board will make a decision in July or August.
Mr. Osborn said just following up on different points of view. The work up to the final report involved several major public meetings of which I participated in one or two. Most of the people there were either open-minded about public transportation or outright advocates. In the Metro Moves meetings did you get any feedback that was critical of expanding public transportation?
Mr. Palmer replied not in a resounding way. People have been very responsive to the idea of expanding transit. Certain areas in the region did not want to see large buses coming in but they saw the need for smaller buses. We got reactions on the concept of the hubs. Some people were concerned about people from other neighborhoods coming into theirs and they saw this as facilitating that movement. However, we did not get any ground swell of resistance.
Mr. Osborn said at these same meetings there were examples of innovative ideas, some of them just good ideas. I was wondering if you have set a priority list. You mentioned the smart card. Another is GIS tracking of the vehicles so you can call up on a phone and find out how long it will take a bus to get to your particular bus stop.
Mr. Palmer said we have recommended real time readouts at the hubs. Weíve looked at the notion of having these handhelds or monitors on the bus for each individual passenger to be able to get advanced notice even while on the bus, but we donít know how practical thatís going to be for us. We think the idea of having portals on there for people to hook up their laptops and music like the airlines is certainly doable.
Mr. Osborn said as to the site selection and routing and planning that you are going through right now, we are also in the midst of a comprehensive plan here in Springdale. It really ought to be influenced by some of the decisions you are going to be making short term. Is there some way we can interface with your office to get some advance lead on some of those items so that we can give that to our Comprehensive Plan Committee? It might modify or affect the Comprehensive Plan for the City.
Mr. Palmer replied it would be to our advantage to follow your lead considering your Comprehensive Plan. Other than the idea of a hub being in a particular area, if it doesnít fit just so to your Comprehensive Plan we can adjust to that very easily. But, to answer your question, definitely yes.
Mr. Osborn said Nancy Edwards from Mr. Palmerís office was gracious enough to come out last week and work with the City. We were looking at transportation issues as related to Hunterís Glen, for example, and generally, transportation within the City much like these buses Mr. Palmer described. Ms. Edwards was very helpful and we thank you for letting her come out and work with us.
Mr. Wilson asked have you considered the underground or subway services like New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., etc.?
Mr. Palmer answered no, we have not. That did not surface in the O-K-I major investment study among the alternatives they wanted to move forward in-house. I think one of the reasons for that is that it is extremely expensive to develop an underground system unless you are fortunate enough to have enough tunnels already in place prior to the introduction of the subway concept. We can get into $4-$6 million per mile or more. I think one of the reasons light rail surfaced as the preferred alternative is that it is more flexible and can be integrated easier into the infrastructure.
Mr. Wilson said it would be more expensive but in the long run I think it might prove more profitable because of the speed. It would probably take 1 Ĺ hours to go from Tri-County to Beechmont or Tri-County to Western Hills, whereas an underground system might take half that time and might give you even more passengers. The fare would be the same but you would be able to move from point A to point B at a faster pace and you would probably have more people interested in that. When I went to school in Washington DC, the public transportation was above ground. Now the rail is such that you can go from the airport to Silver Springs in 45 minutes. You couldnít drive that. So more and more people are opting to go that route rather than above ground transportation.
Mr. Palmer said having a dedicated right-of-way exclusive to the subway itself is much more expedient. However, I believe that those involved in MIS just didnít think it was something this region could support.
Mr. Vanover said we have to change our mindset. We are married to our automobiles. The time has come. How tied is this plan to the light rail?
Mr. Palmer replied we dubbed the Metro Moves plan as being rail ready. If you look at these hubs and you look at the current plan, when we go into areas such as Blue Ash and Montgomery, we talk about that hub being used as a rail station. If that is a reality we would design it and also modify the bus service. The bus service would not be as frequent and we would modify the stops and convert the service as a feeder to the rail station that would have people transfer at the hub and use the light rail system.
Mr. Vanover said I know there are areas that have dedicated lanes for bus traffic only. What thought processes have come along on that?
Mr. Palmer stated that has come up many times. We did not recommend any dedicated high frequency lanes for the service but we are suggesting having dedicated bus lanes accessing the transit hub, which would allow the bus to get out of the transit hub and on to I-275 without having to deal with a lot of traffic.
Mr. Danbury said it appears that most of the transportation is to and from for employment purposes. I think itís a great opportunity for places like the zoo, Kingís Island, ballgames. You can get people off the roads. Another idea I believe Mayor Webster brought up a while back, is the possibility of neighborhood shuttle service during the holidays. It would alleviate a lot of traffic for the mall. It would allow people who canít or donít want to use bus service get in and out faster.
Mr. Palmer replied that is the kind of input we would like to get relative to designing this service. We have recommended cultural event circulating services to be developed to go to Reds games, Coney Island, the zoo, etc. The type of buses used would probably be like the Greyhound over the road buses.
Mr. Galster said I noticed that this is a five-phase implementation plan over a ten year period subject to funding. I spent from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. today running kids pretty much on these same routes so it would have been nice to have it today. I think the approach is proper. I personally do not use the bus service right now. I could see me using it based on the destinations I have in my daily life.
Mrs. McNear said as an employer in this area, this looks like a really good plan. When you are looking for services to put in your hubs it would be really nice to be able to drop your dry cleaning off in the morning and pick it up on your way home in the evening.
Mr. Osborn said another idea I saw at some of the meetings and thought was very innovative was childcare facilities in the hub. Other uses were consumer type uses co-located there.
ORDINANCE NO. 23-2001 "APPROVING, ADOPTING AND RATIFYING THE RESOLUTION OF COOPERATION, AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT OF COOPERATION FOR REESTABLISHMENT OF THE HAMILTON COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PLANNING PARTNERSHIP AND AUTHORIZING THE PLANNING COMMISSION TO PARTICIPATE AS A MEMBER"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Ordinance 23-2001 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 30-2001 "ESTABLISHING THE POSITION IN THE CLASSIFIED SERVICE OF FITNESS CENTER MANAGER, ESTABLISHING COMPENSATION FOR THE FITNESS CENTER MANAGER, AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO FILL SAID POSITION, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ms. Pollitt asked could someone tell me what "fitness assessments" means? Does that mean they would be accessible to the residents to lay a fitness program for them?
Mr. Osborn replied thatís exactly what it means. When someone comes into the fitness center, he/she has the option of either electing to participate in an assessment process or waiving it. If you choose to participate in it, you then have to have certain information sent to us by your physician. Then our counselor will help you put together a program compatible with your skills, strengths, etc.
Ms. Pollitt asked would that be reviewed periodically with the fitness director?
Mr. Osborn responded whenever you came back, they would have your information on file and it would indicate what equipment youíve been trained on, what areas they should stay away from because of a shoulder problem, etc. Those folks are there to answer any questions you might have. They would also help you work towards certain goals.
Ms. Pollitt said thatís a wonderful qualification and I think it will be a real benefit.
Ordinance 30-2001 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Coleman and the other two members of the Civil Service Commission for the cooperation they extended to us to make this situation happen. We have an exceptional young man who is highly qualified. We needed to get this in place and get it done fast. We couldnít ask for any more cooperation than was extended to us by the board.
Mr. Osborn said this evening we adopted the ordinance pertaining to the Planning Partnership. As I mentioned at our meeting two weeks ago, as part of the Planning Partnership, the City has the right to appoint two people to serve as our representatives. It would be my suggestion, if Council so choose, that one member be Richard Huddleston who has been elected chairman of the Planning Partnership. I would ask that I be able to represent the City as the other appointee at least in the formative period of this new organization. I think I can help identify issues and steer the growth of the organization that might be more favorable to us.
Mr. Galster made a motion to appoint the two representatives as described by Mr. Osborn. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Parham said Mr. Palmer passed out a survey and asked that each of us complete it. If you will return it here we can forward them to Metro. At the top of the document would you please write City of Springdale?
Mayor Webster said if you havenít already, please mark your calendars for May 20, 2:00 p.m. Thatís when we will officially dedicate the Community Center. We have not had a lot of success in getting a notable speaker so we will probably not have a speaker, per se, but weíll muddle along and it will be a very nice affair. We are sending invitations to the entire community.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Comprehensive Plan - April 24
Youth Sports Opening Day Parade - April 28, 9:00 a.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT - none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 8:35 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council