VILLAGE OF GRANVILLE COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES November 28, 2001 – Special Meeting
CALL TO ORDER (by Mayor Robertson at 7:30pm)
ROLL CALL Those responding to the roll call were Councilmembers Bellman, Crais, and Lucier; Vice Mayor Wernet, Mayor Robertson; Manager Hickman. Councilmember Lucier moved to excuse Councilmembers McGowan and Moore; second by Councilmember Bellman. Motion carried.
ORDINANCE NO. 40-01, An Ordinance Supplementing Ordinance No. 37-01, Authorizing The Village Of Granville To Extend Sewer Services To The Granville Exempted Village School District’s New School Site And Authorizing The Village To Sell Its Surplus Utilities, And Declaring An Emergency, was introduced by Vice Mayor Wernet. Second by Councilmember Bellman.
Discussion: Vice Mayor Wernet acknowledged the continuing efforts of Councilmember Bellman to create an ordinance that would meet the requirements of the School Board.
Councilmember Bellman noted his intention to “go the extra mile” to meet the School Board, especially about the road issue and the reported $1MM projected price tag. He stated that the Licking County Planning Commission has said that the road, as currently proposed by the School Board, already exceeds County standards for a public road (as would any road designed to carry the load this one will carry). For example, the County requires a 20-foot road width; the planned road is 24 feet wide. The proposed surface material is also acceptable. Councilmember Bellman also wanted to clear up any confusion about what Council was asking for (i.e., neither curbs nor gutters nor sidewalks are being requested). Furthermore, to show good faith on Council’s part, Councilmember Bellman included a provision that the Village would be willing to waive the sewer tap-in fee if the land is annexed and the road is declared a public road. The result of this one point would be thousands of dollars in savings for the School Board over the long term, both for the waived tap-in fee and the ongoing maintenance costs for the road which would be absorbed by the Village.
Council Q&A: Vice Mayor Wernet asked if the Village would take over maintenance of the sewer line if the land were annexed into the Village. Manager Hickman responded that Council could so specify in the Ordinance.
Councilmember Lucier asked if the County had to specifically approve the road as a public road. [They do.] She then asked who would be responsible for road maintenance if the land is not annexed into the Village. Councilmember Bellman responded that it would be either the County or the Township, depending on how the road is classified. Councilmember Lucier then noted that if the road were a public road, some other entity than the School Board would be responsible for maintaining it even if the land were not annexed into the Village. Vice Mayor Wernet agreed and noted that the School Board could offload road- related costs without having to spend any more money up front, with or without annexation.
Councilmember Crais, speaking to the broader picture, noted that Council had adopted the updated Comprehensive Plan—the result of enormous amounts of energy expended by residents in detailing the kind of lives they wanted to live. One component of the updated plan was the importance of Council’s thinking about the impact of development on the community. This road, as a public road, speaks to that vital principle.
Mayor Robertson addressed another of Council’s major reasons for wanting the road to be public: the traffic- study report clearly states there should be a public road to connect Burg and Loudon Streets to take some of the pressure off already-overwhelmed intersections in the Village. She added that Council has a duty to look out for the Village and its taxpayers in all matters concerning the life of the Village in relation to the schools, the Township, the County, etc. Therefore, if Council can do something, in the course of serving that obligation, that would reduce the wear-and-tear on the streets in the Village, it should do so. Mayor Robertson moved two amendments to Ordinance No. 40-01: (1) ADD a clause to the end of the 5th “Whereas,” as follows: “WHEREAS, Ordinance 37-01 conditioned the sewer extension, in part, on the District making the road it planned to construct between Burg Street and Loudon Street a public road versus a private road (such road having been recommended to the Village in the traffic study commissioned by the Village and submitted by the Parsons Transportation Group, a traffic-engineering firm, on March 22, 2001, as the way for the Village to protect its streets from the large increase in traffic the new school will create); and”. (2) INSERT a new Whereas after the 5th Whereas, as follows: “WHEREAS, the Village Council has the responsibility of maintaining the Village streets and minimizing taxpayer expense in such maintenance by planning for and regulating, where possible, the amount of traffic on the streets; and”. Second by Councilmember Crais.
Discussion: Mayor Robertson stated she wants the public record to reflect that this action is not a whim on the part of Council. A Roll Call vote on the motion to amend yielded five (5) affirmative votes: Councilmembers Bellman, Crais, Lucier; Vice Mayor Wernet, Mayor Robertson. Motion-to-amend carried.
Councilmember Lucier asked for verification of a point in Section 2—i.e., whether the Village is legally permitted to expend money outside its borders. Manager Hickman responded that Law Director Crites and Attorney Gorry are jointly researching this issue but have not reached a conclusion. Councilmember Lucier noted that her intent in asking the question was to make sure Council’s actions in this instance are consistent with its actions in response to a previous request by Ron Sheldon, on behalf of the Rec Commission, for Council to assume a portion of the cost related to extending the bike path across Raccoon Creek to the new park.
Vice Mayor Wernet moved to insert a new Whereas after the 8th original Whereas (or 9th Whereas, pursuant to the earlier amendment), as follows: “WHEREAS, by making the road a public road the District can save substantial sums for maintenance and repair as the Township, County, and/or Village would be responsible for all of these costs; and”. Second by Councilmember Lucier.
A Roll Call vote on the motion to amend yielded five (5) affirmative votes: Councilmembers Bellman, Crais, Lucier; Vice Mayor Wernet, Mayor Robertson. Motion-to-amend carried.
Vice Mayor Wernet expressed the hope that the District would now reverse its previous stand, as reported in The Sentinel, of being unwilling to negotiate. Councilmember Lucier noted she had not heard any further discussion re attempts on the part of the District to pursue good faith efforts toward annexation.
Mayor Robertson stated that her stance in this matter had also been affected by the OEPA position as stated in Ordinance No. 37-01. She added that Dan Dudley, from OEPA, would be present at the regular meeting of December 5th to discuss “208” plans. She is hopeful that the Village can work with the OEPA and the Township to determine precisely where sewer-and-water might be extended and where it might not. Councilmember Bellman introduced the Emergency, reading Section 6 of Ordinance No. 40-01 in full. Second by Councilmember Crais. A Roll Call vote on declaring an emergency yielded five (5) affirmative votes: Councilmembers Bellman, Crais, Lucier; Vice Mayor Wernet, Mayor Robertson. The emergency is declared.
A Roll Call vote on the Ordinance as amended yielded five (5) affirmative votes: Councilmembers Bellman, Crais, and Lucier; Vice Mayor Wernet, Mayor Robertson. Ordinance No. 40-01, as amended, is adopted.
CITIZEN COMMENT Constance Barsky, 221 East Elm Street. Ms. Barsky, the only citizen present at the meeting, stated it was “crucial” for the media to report this meeting in a clear and firm way. She felt Council has gone out of its way to try to assist the School Board. She stated that the Board has a history of providing data after the fact (e.g., the OEPA denial and the road). She added that information appearing in the paper has given a taint to this Council by implying that it is not willing to deliberate or, when it does, takes too long. She affirmed the point made earlier that Council has not only the School Board but the Village citizens to look out for. She took issue with the School Board’s characterization of “overcrowded” classrooms, noting that we are not above the limit, and felt their money would be better spent on improving professional development of teachers. She concluded her comments by stating that the media haven’t given this Council adequate credit for its efforts, then thanked Council for all its work on this issue.
OTHER Vice Mayor Wernet and Councilmember Lucier expressed thanks to Mayor Robertson for her perseverance, her tireless efforts through a very difficult time, and her ability to get disparate parties to work together for the benefit of all. Councilmember Bellman added his thanks for her leadership with The Colony issue—efforts that “silently and effectively” brought both sides together and created, in the developer’s words, a better community than they would have had otherwise.
ADJOURNMENT Vice Mayor Wernet moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:00pm. Second by Councilmember Bellman. Motion carried.