Granville Community Calendar

Council Minutes April 18, 2012

VILLAGE OF GRANVILLE

COUNCIL MINUTES

April 18, 2012

 

CALL TO ORDER (by Mayor Hartfield at 7:30pm) 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE 

ROLL CALL

Those responding to the roll call were Councilmembers Johnson, Lerner, McGowan, Montgomery, O’Keefe, Vice Mayor Barsky, Mayor Hartfield, Manager Stillwell and Law Director Crites. 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA (7:31 pm)

Councilmember McGowan moved to approve the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Vice Mayor Barsky.  Motion carried.    

CITIZENS COMMENTS (7:32 pm)

Edith Shories, 128 Maple Street, stated her concerns regarding her neighbor Forrest Blake’s application to demolish his existing garage and build a new garage.  She distributed an opinion from an arborist to Council as requested by the Planning Commission.  Ms. Shories stated that she does not mind if her neighbor builds a garage, but people need to be aware that there were trees involved.  She explained that there are several tall trees on her property whose roots go onto Mr. Blake’s property.  She would hate to lose any of these trees as they “make her garden.”  Ms. Shories stated that she felt the proposed garage should be moved further back towards the applicant’s home.  She stated that moving the garage would ensure the survival of these trees.  Ms. Shories indicated that she was recently advised that a tree on the applicant’s property was sick.  She questioned if this sick tree could endanger other trees in the area.  Ms. Shories stated the professional arborist stated that the work to remove the existing garage “should be done with the utmost patience” to ensure that tree roots were not damaged.  

Councilmember McGowan asked the legal ramifications should a tree fall on someone’s lawn.  Law Director Crites stated that the general rule of law was that liability rested for any damage caused by a tree with the tree’s owner.  For example if one had knowledge that a tree was unstable, that could change legal responsibility.  Ms. Shories stated her insurance agent informed her that the laws have changed and the general rule no longer applies. 

Planner Terry explained that the Planning Commission reviewed Mr. Blake’s architectural plans and granted approval contingent upon the applicant receiving the required variances for setbacks.  The applicant had not applied for variances from the BZBA at this time.  

Councilmember O’Keefe asked the location of the current garage in relationship to the property lines.  Planner Terry stated it could be ten feet (10’) from the property line and the existing garage was currently one foot (1’) from the property line.  Mr. Montgomery questioned what the legal ramifications were if something were built within the setbacks regarding a neighbor’s tree.  Law Director Crites indicated that it would be difficult to say as there could be exceptions.  

Ms. Shories asked Council to please take the opinion of her arborist seriously.  Mr. Montgomery questioned the legalities of tree roots trespassing on another person’s property.  Law Director Crites indicated that the individuals completing the demolition had to exercise care and not be negligent.  Councilmember Montgomery inquired about the purpose of the surety bond.  Planner Terry stated the surety bond was to protect the Village in case the project was left incomplete.  

Councilmember Lerner stated that the demolition of the old structure was not the issue threatening the trees, but rather the installation of the new structure.  Planner Terry stated that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the new structure and suggested that if Ms. Shories had issues with her trees, she should consult an arborist.  The Planning Commission requested that this information be given to the BZBA.  Mayor Hartfield stated that the decision before Council tonight was regarding the structure being demolished.  Mr. Blake’s application still had to be before the BZBA.  She asked if a copy of the report from the arborist could go to the demolition contractor.  Law Director Crites agreed and indicated that if any damage was done, the involved parties were now on notice.  

Vice Mayor Barsky asked the make up of the existing foundation.  Mr. Blake stated mostly gravel with a small concrete area.  Planner Terry stated the testimony offered by Mr. Blake’s son before the Planning Commission indicated that the foundation was gravel only.  Councilmember O’Keefe encouraged Ms. Shories to give Mr. Blake a copy of the arborist’s report.  Mayor Hartfield asked if Council could request that the arborist’s report be included as part of the approval process.  

Ms. Shories stated that street trees could be getting sick from Mr. Blake’s sick tree.  She stated that Mr. Blake’s tree is a “loose cannon.”  She questioned if it was worth building a garage when Mr. Blake ultimately wanted to move.  Mr. Blake stated that he was not planning to move in the near future.  Planner Terry indicated that when the applicant filed for an application for a variance from the BZBA, Ms. Shories would be notified.  The report from the arborist could be submitted to the BZBA and attached to the demolition permit as well.  

As no one else appeared to speak, Mayor Hartfield closed Citizen Comments at 7:52pm. 

PUBLIC HEARING (7:53 PM) 

Ordinance No. 06-2012, An Ordinance to Adopt the 2012 Joint Granville

Township and Village of Granville Comprehensive Plan. 

Discussion:   

Bill Wernet, 347 North Granger Street, indicated that there was insufficient notice for the public hearing on Ordinance No. 06-2012.  He explained that the documents (maps) on the Village website were not the current, most up-to-date version thereby making the notice invalid.  Mr. Wernet stated his concern was when members of the public receive notification; they were misinformed with other documents being slipped in at the last minute.  Mr. Wernet stated for this to be a meaningful hearing, Village Council has no other choice than to correct the information on the website.  He indicated he did not know what he could comment about without the correct information in front of him.  Mr. Wernet read aloud a comment he received via email from a Village employee addressing his concerns.  He stated the email indicated that the Village provided the information on their website as a courtesy only.  This form of notification was not legislated.  Mr. Wernet stated there was a legal problem in this situation.  Moreover, he stated there was a misunderstanding of who the government works for and that the public does not work for the government.  Mr. Wernet indicated that as a local realtor, he was consistently told that individuals have problems with the entire Village planning department and process.  He advised that people tell him they were routinely treated rudely.  Mr. Wernet commented that the Village could do better and have historically done better.  Mr. Wernet stated that the bureaucrat was placed above the person paying the salary and “we have a problem dealing with the planning process in this town.”  Councilmember McGowan stated he would have no objection to extending the public hearing to ensure all of the information matches.  Vice Mayor Barsky stated it was best to have everything consistent.  She stated the Village staff needs to make decisions on where they are going to post things for public review.  Vice Mayor Barsky indicated that the Township has put their decision on hold until the Village approved the Comprehensive Plan.   Councilmember Johnson agreed public trust could suffer at this point and he agreed with extending the public hearing.  Planner Terry indicated Clerk Prasher would return on Friday, April 20th and could work on posting the information to the website.  Fourteen days would be needed in order to post a notice.  Manager Stillwell stated a one week notification process was needed and staff would do their best to include information on the website as a courtesy.  He indicated the documents were available in Village Hall as well.  Councilmember Lerner questioned if the amended maps could be voted on separately.  Planner Terry stated no that Council would vote on the entire plan.  Vice Mayor Barsky stated that Council should err on the side of caution and delay the process. Manager Stilwell stated he did not believe that his staff had been rude to anyone during his term as Village Manager.  He stated they could always improve the process.  Vice Mayor Barsky encouraged Mr. Wernet to contact the Village Manager if he felt that he was not being treated well.  Mr. Wernet stated he was told that many people refrain from complaining as they fear it would delay their permit process.    

Vice Mayor Barsky moved to continue the public hearing for Ordinance No. 06-2012 until May 16, 2012.  Second by Councilmember McGowan.  Motion carried.   

Mayor Hartfield closed the public hearing for Ordinance No. 06-2012 at 8:02 PM. 

NEW BUSINESS            

Resolution No. 2012-27, A Resolution to Appoint Members to the Bryn Du

Commission was introduced and moved for approval by Councilmember

McGowan.      Second by Vice Mayor Barsky. 

No discussion. 

Mayor Hartfield called for a vote to approve Resolution No. 2012-27.  Motion passed.  Resolution No. 2012-27 was adopted.

Resolution No. 2012-28, An Resolution to Permit the Demolition of a Wooden Garage at 226 South Mulberry Street was introduced and moved for approval by Vice Mayor Barsky.  Second by Councilmember O’Keefe 

Discussion: 

Forrest Blake, 226 West Mulberry, questioned if he was obligated to move forward with the demolition if he did not proceed to seek approval from the Board of Zoning and Building Appeals and Planning Commission.  Planner Terry indicated no.  

Mayor Hartfield called for a vote to approve Resolution No. 2012-28.  Motion passed.  Resolution No. 2012-28 was adopted. 

REVIEW OF MINUTES

Regularly Scheduled Meeting of April 4, 2012

Councilmember McGowan made a motion to approve the April 4, 2012 minutes as amended.  Second by Vice Mayor Barsky.   Motion carried.

MAYOR' S REPORT - March 

The Mayor's report for the month of March was presented for review. 

Councilmember McGowan moved to accept the March Mayor’s Report. Second by Vice Mayor Barsky.  Motion carried. 

Mayor Hartfield instructed the report be filed with the clerk. A copy of the report will be included as part of these minutes. 

MANAGER' S REPORT - March 

The Manager's report for the month of March was presented for review. 

Manager Stilwell indicated that March income tax revenues were down, but still above projections.  He indicated that a contractual agreement was reached to provide Class II licensure services for the wastewater treatment plant on a twenty hour a week basis.  This temporary measure would maintain the Village’s compliance with the Ohio EPA. 

Councilmember McGowan moved to accept the March Manager’s Report. Second by Vice Mayor Barsky.  Motion carried. 

Mayor Hartfield instructed the report be filed with the clerk. A copy of the report will be included as part of these minutes. 

COMMITTEE REPORTS    

Granville Education Foundation (Lerner) 

No Report.

Granville Foundation – (Montgomery)

No Report. 

Planning Commission – (Johnson)

Councilmember Johnson reported that Reader’s Garden received a variance for a new sign window sign.  He stated that this application brought up some issues regarding Village Code regulations on sign space.  A privacy fence for 119 South Prospect was denied.   Councilmember Johnson stated he wished Mr. Wernet were present to hear his comments.  He stated that as a previous Planning Commission member for over two years, applicants may not have received the response they wanted, but they were always treated courteously.  Councilmember Johnson stated he agreed that the Code could be friendlier.  The Planning Commission does a thankless job and they do it well.  Councilmember O’Keefe agreed with Councilmember Johnson.  Councilmember Montgomery stated that he served on the BZBA and felt it was a “positive spirit.”  Councilmember Lerner stated that she observed individuals were often surprised that they needed to acquire any type of permission for things they wanted to do on their property.    

Planning & Zoning Committee – (Barsky, Mershon, O’Keefe)

No Report. 

Comprehensive Plan – (Barsky)

No Report. 

Granville Recreation District – (McGowan)

No Report.

Tree & Landscape Commission (Lerner)

Councilmember Lerner reported that work would begin on Opera House Park with John Klauder landscaping.  The Commission hoped to have this project completed before the 4th of July.  The Commission inquired as to who was responsible to clean up the alley and walkway between St. Luke’s Church and the Granville Historical Society.  Manager Stillwell indicated that he would check as to when clean-up of the walkway would be completed.  He also indicated that Keith Myers would be assisting with the bid process for transitioning the driveway into a walkway.  They were aware of the July deadline.  Councilmember Lerner reported that the Arbor Day celebration would be at the Intermediate School on April 27th  with two to three trees being donated by AEP. 

Union Cemetery (Barsky)

Vice Mayor Barsky stated that the joint Union Cemetery meeting between the Village and the Township Trustees would be held the first week in May.  Lyn Boone was nominated to fill the third Board member position vacated by Robert Drake. The Fannins will arrive the first week of June for fifteen days.  

OTHER COUNCIL MATTERS 

Councilmember McGowan asked about the Village ordinance regarding tall grass.  He stated that there was a violation of the tall grass ordinance as the grass was over six inches.  He asked if the Village could assess the property and make a determination.  Law Director Crites stated that the Village has authority after notification and after a specified period of time, the cost could be passed along to the resident.  Generally residents respond to any violation notice and fix any issues. Law Director Crites stated there could be a charge for mowing plus an administrative fee. 

Manager Stillwell indicated that he would be making a recommendation to Council regarding the establishment of a Utility Director position.  A Resolution would be brought before Council within the next two weeks with a pay range in line with the Police Chief.  .  Mayor Hartfield commented that with some of the issues regarding both the water and sewer plants over the past few years, the inclusion of a Utility Director position would be beneficial regarding compliance issues, efficiency, effectiveness, etc.  Councilmember McGowan stated that he was unsure of what other communities do.  Manager Stillwell stated he would present two studies addressing that question.  Councilmember McGowan stated that within the last couple years, the Village has tended to hire individuals at the top end of the pay scale.

Manager Stillwell stated he received a proposal from Tim Tyler of TACO Sports.  This information was forwarded to Council, but no feedback was received.  Manager Stillwell indicated that he advised Mr. Tyler that the Village would support these programs this year as they were already budgeted, but not to expect similar contributions next year.  Vice Mayor Barsky questioned funding these events versus the Granville picnic.  Council agreed that funding these events next year would need further discussion.  Mayor Hartfield commented that she was not aware that funding for these events was perpetual.  

Councilmember O’Keefe advised that she and Vice Mayor Barsky attended a County Commissioner’s meeting regarding the use of brine on local roadways.  The County Commissioners indicated that brine from fracking would not be used on local roadways.  The brine used locally was from production wells. Councilmember O’Keefe was awaiting information as to what type of brine came from production wells.  The Commissioners assured those at the meeting that the brine from production wells was safe. Councilmember O’Keefe indicated that a fracking well was at the Knox County border  Work needs to be done to ensure that state legislators help make regulations to protect the water supplies. 

The Joint Union Cemetery meeting will be held on May 2, 2012 at 7:00pm.   Council indicated this meeting has to take place in Council Chambers according to the ORC.  The meeting could not be held at the Bryn Du Mansion as previously suggested. 

Manager Stilwell indicated that clean-up/fix-up week would begin next week.  Wood items would be picked up the week of April 23rd.  All other items would be picked up the week of April 30th.  Manager Stillwell indicated that he was investigating an alternate for weekly pick up of all items with Big O Refuse.  He will report his findings to Council.  

ADJOURNMENT (8:50 PM) 

Councilmember McGowan made a motion to adjourn.  Second by Councilmember O’Keefe.  Motion carried. 

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