Granville Community Calendar

Council Minutes May 4, 2016

VILLAGE OF GRANVILLE

COUNCIL MINUTES

May 4, 2016

CALL TO ORDER (by Mayor Hartfield at 7:41pm) 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

ROLL CALL 

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

APPROVAL OF AGENDA 

Councilmember McGowan moved to approve the May 4, 2016 agenda.  Second by Councilmember Johnson.  Motion passed. 

CITIZENS COMMENTS (7:41pm) 

As no one appeared to speak, Mayor Hartfield closed Citizen Comments at 7:43pm. 

PUBLIC HEARING

Ordinance No. 03-2016, An Ordinance to Amend Sections 1133.03, 1137.01, 1139.06, 1141.06, 1177.11, 1185.02, 1189.13 and 1191.03 of the Codified Ordinance of Granville, Ohio

Mayor Hartfield announced that Village Council was looking into alternative options for this legislation.  This legislation was a work in progress.  She also indicated that she did not intend to close the Public Hearing on this ordinance in order to give residents additional time to comment. 

Gill Miller, 411 Welsh Hills Road, asked Council not to adopt this legislation.  The cost to residents of taking an appeal to court was very expensive.  The community needed the opportunity to have their applications reviewed locally.  She asked Council to please maintain an appeal at a non-litigious level. 

Dixon Miller, 203 West Elm Street, asked Council to maintain the opportunity for residents to appeal decisions locally.  There was certainly a distinction between administrative law and statutory law.  With appeals to an out-of-district court, the information was always new to the judge.  The judge could only render a decision based on the facts and the law.  In administrative law, people had background information and expertise to take these factors into consideration. 

Mike Brady, 103 Chapin Place, stated that he understood the duality of the issue of Council hearing an appeal.  Council was a legislative body being asked to act as a quasi-judicial body.  However, the cost to residents of appealing to the Court of Common Pleas seemed too great to remove the option.  Village Council selected and appointed the members to these boards/commissions and they should function and follow all procedures and law.  The code could be interpreted in many ways and leaving Council with the ability to hear appeals provided Council with necessary oversight ability.

Chris Lucas-Miller, 203 West Elm Street, commented that the discussion was about two different bodies, an administrative and judicial body.  Saying that Council was to act as a quasi-judicial body was not appropriate.  Councilmembers were not to judge cases.  They should take local history and information into consideration when deciding appeals.  Law Director King responded that Mr. Lucas-Miller’s comments were completely wrong.  Council was to act as a quasi-judicial body when hearing appeals.  However, the comments that Mr. Lucas-Miller made were certainly were the expectations of residents, which was why placing the burden on the Court of Common Pleas would take Council out of this in-between position. 

Tim Collins, 535 Welsh Hills Road, requested that Council defeat this legislation and give residents a voice to be heard.  Removing the appeal process from Council took Council out of the process.  He asked how many times Council had heard an appeal.  Clerk Prasher responded that she thought there had been fourteen appeals in nine years with four appeals forwarded to the Court of Common Pleas.  Mr. Collins felt that residents wanted to come to Council for a review of a BZBA or GPC decision.  The fact that Granville was the only community with an appeal process was what made Granville special.  It was a more personalized service.  There were no issues that were so pressing that Council needed to give up the appeal process. 

Councilmember Johnson thanked the residents for their invaluable input. 

Mayor Hartfield advised that the Public Hearing would remain open and be on the June 1, 2016 agenda.

OLD BUSINESS

Ordinance No. 03-2016, An Ordinance to Amend Sections 1133.03, 1137.01, 1139.06, 1141.06, 1177.11, 1185.02, 1189.13 and 1191.03 of the Codified Ordinance of Granville, Ohio was introduced and requested a public hearing be continued to June 1, 2016 by Councilmember Finkelman.  Second by Councilmember O’Keefe. 

Discussion:

Law Director King advised Council that Councilmember Finkelman had asked if it was possible for Council to have discretionary options to select appeals to hear or recommend that an appeal be sent to the Court of Common Pleas.  Law Director King indicated that the city of Worthington had a limited appeal method, but he would not recommend it as a practical matter.  Law Director King said that he was not aware of another Ohio city that heard administrative appeals.  All appeals went directly to the Court of Common Pleas.  Village Council was a legislative body, not a judicial body, which was counter to your role.  In addition, Village Council appointed boards and commissions that routinely decided these matters.  Law Director King commented that he would follow Council’s direction, but supported removing the appeal process from Council’s authority.   Law Director King also indicated that he was approached by resident Bill Wilkens about Council being able to request a motion of reconsideration of an application permitted with limited authority such as additional or new evidence or a misapplication of the law.  This process could impact the appeal process timeline and require the same board to review an application just processed. 

Councilmember Finkelman asked if a Law Director arbitrate applications to alleviate some appeals.  Law Director King indicated that he attended most Planning Commission and Board of Zoning and Building Appeals to assure that the letter of the law was followed.  Councilmember Finkelman indicated the fact that the Village of Granville was the only community functioning in this capacity led him to feel that the Village may be out-of-step with how the process should be handled.

Vice Mayor Montgomery asked if the Court of Common Pleas was bound and recognized the Village’s appeal filing timeline.  Law Director King stated that the court required all administrative options to be exhausted first.  Vice Mayor Montgomery also commented that the GPC and BZBA already did an extensive review of each application that ends with a Finding of Fact that summarizes and defends the legal rationale for each decision. 

Councilmember O’Keefe asked if appellants were permitted to submit new information to the Court of Common Pleas.  Law Director King indicated that new evidence could be submitted to Common Pleas as well as to Council during an appeal.  Councilmember O’Keefe asked what happened if during an appeal Council took outside issues into consideration.  Law Director indicated that Council must follow judicial law when deciding a case.  Local history, tradition or any other considerations must be set aside and not considered.   The appeal process could have been put into place as a layer of local control.  That control was illusionary.  During appeals, Council had to behave as a judicial body, considering only the evidence. 

Councilmember Johnson agreed that each board did their due diligence during the processing of each application.  There should not be making mistakes of law.  The Village had worked hard to improve the process against gross legal negligence.   Law Director King stated that the boards and he strived to assure that there was always a good record and that the process of law was followed. 

Mayor Hartfield indicated that she would not be in support of the same board rehearing an application as that would seem disingenuous.  However, she was in support of providing the local citizenry with an additional opportunity to have their application heard locally.  Mayor Hartfield commented that something had to have happened for a previous Council to put this local appeal process in place as a safety net. 

Law Director King commented at all of Council’s and the residents comments were good argument for moving this legislation forward in either direction.

NEW BUSINESS

There is no New Business.

REVIEW OF MINUTES

Regularly Scheduled Meeting of April 20, 2016

Councilmember McGowan made a motion to approve the April 20, 2016 minutes as amended.  Second by Councilmember O’Keefe.   Motion carried. 

COMMITTEE REPORTS   

Granville Community Foundation – (Lerner)

No report. 

Granville Recreation District – (Johnson)

Councilmember Johnson reported that there were a 1,000 children signed up for spring programs with the Rec District.  The GRD was working to establish more senior events including a senior cookout and forming a Pickle Ball league. 

Planning Commission – (Montgomery)

Vice Mayor Montgomery reported that the Planning Commission reviewed and approved four window applications for Tiger Brewing Company, an extensive renovation at 204 North Granger Street and exterior modifications at an East Broadway address. 

Granville Arts Commission (O’Keefe)

No report.

Open Space Committee (Finkelman)

No report.

Tree & Landscape Commission – (Lerner)

No report.

Union Cemetery – (McGowan)

No report.

OTHER COUNCIL MATTERS 

Mayor Hartfield reminded Council that the May 18, 2016 Council would begin at 6:00pm in Council Chambers. 

Vice Mayor Montgomery asked about the status of the crosswalk countdown units.  Manager Stilwell responded that staff had met with the company, but there were still outstanding questions about how the units would connect to the traffic signal and if the existing poles would carry the weight of the units.  The Village was also still waiting on a quote from the engineer for the design specs.  These were expected in June for the budget discussions.  Vice Mayor Montgomery asked if the units could be solar powered.  Manager Stilwell indicated that he would check, but he thought the units would need to be connected to the traffic signal in order for the countdown process to work. 

Councilmember O’Keefe commented that the Newark-Granville Road and Jones Road intersection seemed dangerous and if a crosswalk was planned.  Councilmember Johnson indicated that staff had looked at how a crosswalk could be installed, which was hampered the location of Jones Road and the Spring Hills Baptist Church property across the street. 

Councilmember Lerner indicated her support for Council’s conversation during the April 20, 2016 Council meeting regarding the Village encouraging trash pick-up based on waste per pound. 

Councilmember Finkelman asked who was attending the Economic Development 101 seminar.  Councilmember Johnson and Trustee Schott were attending. 

OTHER STAFF MATTERS 

Manager Stilwell advised Council that Chief Caskey provided them with a traffic summary plan to deal with a variety of Village traffic concerns.  Please review the information and contact Chief Caskey or Manager Stilwell with any questions. 

ADJOURNMENT (9:13pm) 

Councilmember McGowan made a motion to adjourn.  Second by Councilmember Johnson.  Motion carried.

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