VILLAGE OF GRANVILLE
SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
June 29, 2011
CALL TO ORDER (by Mayor Hartfield at 7:07pm)
Those responding to the roll call were Councilmembers Barsky, Lerner, McGowan, Mershon, O’Keefe, Vice Mayor Herman, Mayor Hartfield, Acting Village Manager Feldman and Law Director Crites.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Councilmember McGowan moved to approve the agenda. Second by Councilmember Barsky. Motion carried (7-0).
CITIZEN COMMENTS (7:02pm)
As no one appeared to speak, Mayor Hartfield closed Citizen Comments.
Vice Mayor Herman moved to enter into Executive Session, pursuant to ORC §121.22(G)(3) – “to confer with the Law Director concerning a dispute involving the public body that is the subject of pending or imminent court action.” Second by Councilmember Lerner.
Councilmember Lerner moved to enter into Executive Session, pursuant to ORC §121.22(G)(1) – “to consider the appointment or employment of a public employee or official.” Second by Vice Mayor Herman.
Mayor Hartfield called for a roll call vote: Barsky – yes; Lerner – yes; McGowan – yes; Mershon – yes; O’Keefe – yes; Herman – yes; Hartfield – yes. Motion carried 7-0. Time in: 7:04pm.
Councilmember McGowan moved to return to regular session. Second by Councilmember Lerner.
Mayor Hartfield called for a roll call vote: Lerner – yes; McGowan – yes; Mershon – yes; O’Keefe – yes; Barsky – yes; Herman – yes; Hartfield – yes. Motion carried 7-0. Time out: 7:29pm.
Council returned to regular session.
Planning & Zoning Committee
Fletcher Chmara-Huff, 445 North Pearl Street, indicated his support for permitting chickens in the Village. He felt chickens were low maintenance, supported sustainability, and ate bugs. He asked that Council support this proposed legislation.
Ally Laughbaum, 212 South Pearl Street, indicated that she originated this request to permit residents to raise chickens in other Village zoning districts other than the Open Space District. She advised Council that residents had expressed concerns regarding chickens carrying Asian Bird Flu and other diseases. Ms. Laughbaum reported that the Center for Disease Control had only reported half a dozens cases of Bird Flu and those were contracted from large farm animals, not small backyard pets. She requested that Council develop legislation and keep the number of permitted chickens to a small number.
Dawn Busalacchi, 115 Shawn Court, indicated her support for permitting the raising of chickens. She indicated that that this legislation would support a sustainable food network by decentralizing food production to a smaller level of sustainability. She felt that the Village Code already permitted the raising of chickens and the existing nuisance code would handle any issues that might arise. She indicated that prohibiting chickens was the new idea; people had been raising chickens in small communities for hundreds of years.
Bruce Westall, 241 East Maple Street, shared that he currently has four chickens, down from an original six chickens. Mr. Westall felt that his chickens were not impacting any of his neighbor’s lifestyles. He supported this legislation, but felt Council could limit the number of chickens permitted. Mr. Westall indicated that he looked at raising chickens as an educational opportunity for the young neighborhood children who loved to visit his chickens. He commented that Council could certainly write legislation that would deal with any problems or issues that might arise with permitting chickens in the Village.
Council reviewed the materials regarding chickens provided by staff. Council also indicated that they had received a confidential legal opinion from the Law Director regarding the current status of chickens in the Village.
Councilmember Barsky made a motion to make the findings of legal counsel public and waive attorney/client privilege. Second by Councilmember Lerner.
Mayor Hartfield called for a vote to make the findings of legal counsel public and waive attorney /client privilege. Motion passed 6-1.
The findings of legal counsel were summarized to those in attendance. The Law Director indicated that any statue should be read as part of the whole code with various parts being interpreted within the broad statutory context. Also, statues that deal with the same subject matter were to be construed together. He indicated that the definition of words or phrases should be reviewed in the Code. Even if a word or phrase is not expressly defined in the statue, it may have an accepted meaning in the area of law addressed by that statute. Should the definition of agriculture be questioned, the Law Director indicated that the keeping and care of live chickens, even if limited to personal or household use, is considered animal or poultry husbandry, and is there fore included in Granville’s Code as a definition of agriculture.
Additionally, where particular language in one section of a statute was included, but omitted in another area, it is generally presumed to have done so intentionally and purposely. Law Director Crites indicated that the Code specifically permits agriculture in the Open Space District where an additional requirement required lot sizes to be at least five acres in area. Whereas, language in the Village District does not expressly include as a permitted or conditional use keeping live chickens and may arguably describe the activity as not being harmonious and compatible with the appearance and the character of adjacent land uses.
Law Director Crites indicated that the portion of the Village Code that deals with General Offenses outlines what offenses could be illegal. This portion of the Code does not permit or authorize actions, it just outlines citable offenses. Such as Code Section 505.01 that prohibits chickens or other fowl from running at large. As chickens and fowl were permitted used in the Open Space District, any person who permits these animals to run at large could be cited.
Councilmember Lerner indicated that she disagreed with the Law Director’s opinion. She indicated that Section 505.01 discusses having chickens; therefore, that indicates that chickens were permitted anywhere in the Village. Law Director Crites indicated that Section 505.01 was a criminal statue that penalizes offenses, not a statutory law. Criminal statues could not authorize use, only zoning statutes authorize permitted and conditional uses.
Councilmember McGowan asked what the Village’s position was regarding residents who certainly may have chickens. Law Director Crites indicated that staff was not looking to seek out Code infractions. Planner Terry indicated that Village staff, generally, only contacts residents regarding Code infractions when a complaint was received.
Councilmember O’Keefe commented that there was division between resident who support allowing chickens in the Village and those who do not. She suggested that the issue could be placed on the November ballot. Mayor Hartfield agreed that perhaps allowing the residents to vote on the issue might be a solution. Councilmember Mershon suggested that individuals who were in support of changing the existing code could place an initiative on the ballot. Councilmember Lerner asked if the parameters of raising chickens would be included with an initiative. Councilmember Mershon responded that Council could add restrictions to any legislation that would be passed. Vice Mayor Herman added that residents would have a lot of information available to launch an initiative if they contacted Village staff for a copy of the packet provided to Councilmembers. Councilmember McGowan commented that some community initiatives could have specific language regarding set backs and a requirement to secure neighbor consent.
Councilmember Mershon suggested that a more balance approach might be if Council proposed language and the initiative. Vice Mayor Herman suggested that legislation be constructed, but allow Council the ability to develop the parameters.
Councilmember Barsky asked how difficult the referendum or initiative process was and if citizens had time to put an initiative together. Councilmember Mershon advised that the packet had draft code provisions available. Council could come back and amend provisions to the code at a later date.
Mayor Hartfield commented that this issue was an emotionally, divided debate nationwide that provided for no easy decision.
Councilmember Lerner indicated her support for directing staff to initiate legislation.
Councilmember O’Keefe indicated that she still had concerns regarding possible reduction in property values, how the Village would regulate compliance with an ordinance and who would be responsible for inspections regarding cleanliness and health issues.
Councilmember Barsky moved that Council maintain the prohibition on chickens in any other zoning District than the Open Spaces Districts. Council should move on to the next item on the agenda. Second by Councilmember O’Keefe.
Councilmember Lerner asked if the urban chicken issue would be permanently dropped or where other Councilmembers interested in pursuing the issue with her. There was no response from any of the other Council members.
Mayor Hartfield called for a vote on the continuance of prohibiting chickens in restricts outside the Open Space District. Motion passed 7-0.
A copy of the legal opinion will be filed with these minutes.
Lights, Streets/Sidewalks, & Utilities Committee
Councilmember McGowan asked if golf carts were already a permitted use based on the regulations stated in the Ohio Revised Code. Acting Manager Feldman indicated in the affirmative. He added that some communities adopt additional regulations for inspections, road restrictions or street usage restrictions. As long as the vehicle is licensed and meets street legal requirements, it is permitted.
Council asked resident Burke Abbott, who requested that Council look into legislation regarding this issue, if he wanted to speak about this issue.
Burke Abbott, 46 Waterford Court, asked Council for their support for this resolution to permit golf carts in the Village. He indicated that he had provided Council with a list of the items needed to make a golf cart street legal.
Councilmember O’Keefe asked Mr. Abbott why golf carts should be permitted. Mr. Abbott advised that he felt permitting golf carts would have a positive impact on the local environment and could make more parking available. As golf carts were smaller vehicles, more parking spaces could be available.
Councilmember Lerner asked about seeking additional information from Denison regarding golf carts usage, specifically gas golf cart usage.
Jeremy King, Sustainability Coordinator from Denison University, advised Council that gas golf carts pollute the environment four to eight times more than automobiles. He commented that should Council decide to promote golf cart usage as an environmental benefit, only electric golf carts could be recommended. He also asked if Council would designate special parking locations or parking spaces for golf carts.
Vice Mayor Herman indicated his support for the resolution to affirm golf cart usage in the Village based on the existing Ohio Revised Code regulations.
Councilmember Lerner asked if the legislation should restrict golf cart usage to electric golf carts only. Council indicated that no change in the legislation was needed, but Council did indicate its support for the use of electric golf carts over gas powered golf carts.
Council recommended that staff draft legislation to be presented at the July 20th Council meeting.
Councilmember McGowan indicated that the average cost for a street legal golf cart was between $4,000 and $8,000.
Dawn Busalacchi, 115 Shawn Court, thanked Council on behalf of the Granville Green Society for pursuing recycling in the downtown area. She indicated that the Green Society would be willing to assist in providing instruction to the public to encourage recycling. Ms. Busalacchi also asked about any progress being made in offering recycling at the Bryn Du Mansion. Acting Manager Feldman indicated that he would provide Council with a report at Council’s July 20th meeting.
Councilmember O’Keefe remarked that several attempts had been made to organize recycling for the downtown businesses, but the process was difficult.
Fletcher Chmara-Huff, 445 North Pearl Street, advised Council the eighty percent of the landfills were filled with recyclable materials. The Village needed to begin to manage our waste stream. He indicated that if recycling was presented to the public effectively and well, participation would be greater.
Acting Manager Feldman advised Council of the recycling containers recommended by staff. He suggested that one unit be purchased and used as a test case.
Councilmember Lerner commented that the unit was bulky and questioned how many trash cans this one unit might replace. Service Director Hopkins indicated that the unit would only replace one trash can. Should these units be effective, just a limited number of them would be placed in various locations.
Councilmember Lerner suggested that the existing recycling can should be moved next to an existing trash can and identified as a recycling container. The existing units were acceptable, but needed better signage.
Councilmember Mershon suggested that the Village consider replacing the existing trash cans with solar recycling trash cans. He indicated that several were located around the Franklin County Court House. He also suggested pairing a trash can with the existing recycling container. Perhaps staff could try to create receptacles with a different size hole that identifies the types of recyclables accepted.
Acting Manager Feldman indicated that staff would work with the Green Society to try a new recycling system using the existing receptacles. He also indicated that Village staff would work with the Chamber to address recycling for local businesses. Mayor Hartfield indicated that the Village should try to help facilitate recycling for the downtown businesses.
Erinwood Sidewalk Extension
Councilmember McGowan indicated that he thought the LSSU Committee had already looked at this issue. He commented that the Erinwood Business Condo Association had indicated that they were not for the extension of the sidewalk. Vice Mayor Herman agreed with Councilmember McGowan’s comment. Clerk Prasher indicated that following the last LSSU Committee meeting, the Committee asked staff to determine the cost of extending the current sidewalk and to contact the Erinwood Condominium Association for their comments regarding this issue.
Jay Barker, President of the Erinwood Homeowners Association, indicated that the Erinwood Homeowners Association was in support of extending the sidewalk. As there were sidewalks everywhere else in the Village, this sidewalk needed to be completed before any additional individuals were injured. Councilmember McGowan responded that there were many areas in the Village that did not have sidewalks such as the south side of Newark-Granville Road, the north side of the western portion of West Broadway and North Pearl Street where the sidewalk ends on the east side of the road.
Acting Manager Feldman indicated that staff secured an updated cost for the extension of $16,500, which included tree removal for the four hundred sixty foot stretch.
Councilmember Mershon asked if the existing condition was a safety issue. Acting Manager Feldman indicated that it was not a safety issue. Chief Mason indicated that there were no reports of accidents in that area and Service Director Hopkins indicated that he knew of no safety issues.
Acting Manager Feldman indicated that it was staff’s recommendation that the sidewalk extension not be completed.
Mayor Hartfield indicated that the letters from the property owners indicated that they were vehemently not in support of the extension. She also indicated that the cost of this project for such a small strip of sidewalk was sizeable.
Councilmember Mershon suggested that if other projects take place in the Village, perhaps this project could be included.
Council recommended to not proceed with this project.
Economic, Finance & Personnel Committee
Councilmember O’Keefe asked the timeline for purchasing these weapons. Acting Manager Feldman indicated that if funding was available, the purchase would be made this year. He thanked Chief Mason and his staff for putting together and researching the information regarding these weapons.
Council indicated there support to pursue purchasing these weapons.
Alexandria Water Contract
Acting Manager Feldman advised Council that Village staff met with Alexandria staff. He advised that the process was moving forward, but we were waiting for additional information from Alexandria regarding a map of their services lines and service area
OTHER COUNCIL MATTERS
Councilmember McGowan asked about the liquor request permit provided Council in their packet. Acting Manager Feldman indicated that this resident had requested the same permit previously with the only difference being the location of the restaurant from the barn to inside the house. Law Director Crites indicated that he attended the hearing bringing ten witnesses. The Village asked that the permit be denied due to the location’s proximity to the library, post office and issues regarding parking. The permit was denied in 2007. Councilmember Mershon asked if Village staff had heard from anyone regarding this permit. Acting Manager Feldman indicated that one resident indicated that they were against the issuance of a permit.
Councilmember O’Keefe moved that the Village request a hearing regarding the request for this liquor permit. Second by Councilmember McGowan.
Mayor Hartfield called for a vote on requesting a hearing regarding the request for a liquor permit at 119 ½ South Prospect Street. Motion passed 7-0.
Councilmember McGowan moved to adjourn the meeting. Second by Vice Mayor Herman. Motion carried (7-0). Meeting adjourned.