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Garrettsville Council Votes Down Exterior Maintenance Ordinance

Garrettsville – Village Council, at the November 14, 2012 council meeting, voted down proposed Ordinance 2012-15 that would have enacted an exterior maintenance code for every property (residential and commercial) in the Village.  Council had tabled the ordinance and sent it back to the Planning Commission to rework it after receiving much opposition from residents at the Public Hearing held before the August 8, 2012 Council Meeting.  The Planning Commission sent it back to Council with a recommendation for final consideration.  Without any discussion, Council un-tabled the Ordinance and unanimously voted it down.  Residents in the gallery thanked Council for listening and supporting their views.

In other business, Dave Harrington addressed Council about the process for dedicating the street in the Fox Hollow development to the Village.  Dedicating the road would make it a public thoroughfare and place the burden of maintenance and repair on the Village.  Councilman Matson, though not opposed to the idea, voiced concern about possible damage from construction vehicles on the road when construction of homes begins in the development.  Though the road has been there for thirteen years, it has had little traffic.  Harrington reminded Council that they will have a four-year agreement, so if any repairs to the infrastructure under the road have to be made that would also include replacing and road surface affected.  Solicitor Stuck and Councilman Matson clarified that their concern is for the road itself.  After much discussion, it was suggested a bond be obtained to cover any possible road damage.  Harrington stated he will investigate the bonding process and present everything to Council as soon as it is completed.

Ordinance 2012-29 was next presented for discussion.  If enacted it would amend the Ordinance pertaining to the Village’s Job Creation Tax Credit Program.  The proposed changes were discussed at last month’s meeting and would expand the incentives to make it more appealing and competitive in possibly bringing larger businesses to the area.  Councilwoman Becky Harrington voiced concern that the proposed Ordinance was asking ‘above and beyond’ the State of Ohio requirements and that Council should consider keeping the rules more in line with the State’s requirements in an effort to be more business friendly.  Council agreed that amendments could be made once the changes were in effect.  Council then unanimously agreed to suspend the rules and then enact the Ordinance.

Mayor Patrick brought before Council a request for clarification of the rules for the use of the Village’s park ball fields.  He stated a local travel baseball team, with a majority of its members from the James A. Garfield school district is asking to use the fields without paying the newly instated fees for use.  Council agreed that the fees apply to non-resident use only therefore the local team would not have to pay the fees.

Resolution 2012-32 and 2012-33 were presented on first reading.  If passed, they will authorize the Mayor and the Village Clerk to enter into contract agreements for dispatching services for both Community EMS and Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Joint Fire District for a three-year period.

Next Brian Savage from Ohio Insurance Service addressed council with a proposal for the Village’s 2013 employee insurance needs.  His comprehensive proposal showed a savings to the Village over projected increases from the current service supplier.  Council thanked him for his presentation, and stated they will consider the proposal but were also waiting for more input from the current service provider.

During round-table discussion, Councilman Matson reported that construction was completed on the antique equipment building for the fire district.  Mayor Patrick told council that the new tractor had arrived and he also brought up the tree program that Council agreed to offer residents last month.  He said he had only received two requests for tree removal.

Mayor Patrick brought up a request by the Design Review Board to consider eliminating the board or merging it with the Planning Commission.   After much discussion, Council agreed the board was no longer necessary.  Solicitor Stuck said she will review the zoning ordinances since eliminating the board will impact significant parts of the zoning code.  She stated she will have proposed legislation available for the next council meeting for review.

Council approved the Mayor’s recommendation that Village Hall Offices be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25 for the Christmas holiday.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community, please attend a meeting.  Village Council will next meet December 12, 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.