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Green Council halts housing project

11/29/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

GREEN — Green City Councilman Dave France (Ward 2) said now is not the right time to extend an existing housing development in the city of Green.

At the Nov. 27 Council meeting, Council did not approve an ordinance to change the zoning classification of approximately 15.96 acres of land located on the west side of South Arlington Road, north of Boettler Road, from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to R-2 (Multiple-Family Residential).

The rezoning would have allowed for the construction of Phase II of the Emerald Ridge subdivision, located on land next door to the proposed site.

Council members Gerard Neugebauer (at large) and Jim Colopy (Ward 1) voted in favor of the zoning change, while Council members France, Joel Reed (at large), Ken Knodel (Ward 3) and John Summerville (Ward 4) voted against it. Councilman Chris Humphrey (at large) was absent from the meeting.

The Planning and Zoning Commission made a negative recommendation to Council on the matter, voting 4-1 against it.

A public hearing on the matter took place Nov. 13, and Council heard “meaningful” comments from those for and against the project, Neugebauer said.

He believed the project would have been beneficial, as it would have provided additional living opportunities in the city, specifically for the senior population.

Colopy said he is an advocate for alternative housing in Green, as it makes for a well-rounded community.

“There is a demand for this type of housing,” he said.

George Smerigan, of Oxbow Engineering — spokesperson for the developer, Redwood Management — said the plan was to construct 16 buildings, containing 81 units of ranch-style homes with two bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage.

Neugebauer said the city’s current long-range plan identifies the land in question as a suitable site for multi-family homes, and he believes the homes would have been built more attractively than phase I.

Before the vote was taken, Helen and Jeptha Crum, who have lived for decades on a property that would have been surrounded by the new project, asked Council to vote down the measure.

Helen Crum said her father owned the 15 acres phase II would have been located on, and she did not want to see that area filled with apartments.

France said he was not in favor of further isolating the existing single-family homes near the development.

Also during the meeting, Council approved an ordinance to regulate illicit discharges into the city storm sewer system, at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

France explained the city is adopting the policy as law to help the EPA enforce regulations on home septic systems.

City Engineer Paul Pickett said the ordinance would result in the city locating more failed septic systems than it has in the past.

He explained septic systems in question would be inspected by the Summit County Public Health Department, and samples would be taken and the findings reported to the city.

“A lot of people do not know their systems are not functioning properly, and now they are going to be finding that out,” Pickett said.

The city will be contracting with Summit County Public Health again in 2013 — as it has done the past few years — to conduct the inspections, at a cost of about $10,000 for the year, he said.

Known discharge points in the city will continue to be inspected on a regular basis, and if they do not meet the safety threshold, further inspections would be done to determine the problem, Pickett explained.

He said the ordinance simply furthers the intent of the Clean Water Act.

Resident Joel Helms spoke out against the measure during the Transportation, Connectivity and Storm Water Committee, held just prior to the regular meeting.

He questioned the resolution’s legality, calling it an “enemy” to the community and a push for the regionalization of storm water.

Helms said the city just copied Summit County’s legislation, but he wanted it written more specific for the residents of Green.

“You are being very irresponsible to the citizens here,” he said.

France explained the document was reviewed by the EPA, and it met its approval.

Additionally Nov. 27, Council spent time during the Finance Committee meeting discussing the proposed 2013 annual operating appropriations for the General Fund.

The proposed total appropriations for 2013 are about $33.2 million, Summerville explained.

According to city officials, the 2012 operating budget was about $36.4 million, so the budget being appropriated is decreasing by about $3.2 million for next year.

Summerville said it is important to note the city again will be operating with a balanced budget, despite a loss of local government funds totaling about $350,000.

He said revenue is expected to total about $34 million.

Summerville added the budget will allow for the addition of new city employees, including a part-time receptionist, highway staff and seasonal help, and potentially allow for $1 million in new equipment.

Council also unanimously confirmed the site plan for the Acme Fresh Market during the regular meeting.

Jim Nilsen, treasurer and president of Albrecht Inc., said the new $28 million Acme grocery store will be built on a 17-acre site in the 75-acre Heritage Crossings development located at the corner of Graybill and Massillon roads.

The legislation approved by Council confirms more space for other retail shops or offices to be located in Heritage Crossings.

Construction tentatively is scheduled to begin this winter, and Acme may open in early fall 2013, city officials said.

Between the committee meetings and regular meeting, Council held an executive session to interview two applicants for the Design Review Board.

In other business, Council also:

• authorized the city to hire a contractor for the Hartong Farmhouse roof replacement project at a cost of $30,000. Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said the state’s Historic Preservation Office will reimburse the city for 60 percent of the project cost;

• approved a carry-out liquor license request for Dolgen Midwest LLC, doing business as Dollar General Store, 3849 S. Main St.;

• authorized the city administration to apply for funding through the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for the proposed Steese Road Educational Wetland;

• established an hourly pay range for the position of seasonal laborer II. Reed explained the seasonal position requires a commercial driver’s license and pays $12 to $15 an hour;

• heard the second reading of an ordinance awarding a $70,000 contract to Perram Electric for the 2012 South Main Street and West Nimisila Road traffic signal improvement project;

• heard the second reading of a resolution awarding a $236,000 contract to St. Clair Pavlis Group for the Boettler Park Restroom Project, which would include the remodeling of the existing restroom facility and the addition of a new building for restrooms. City officials said construction would begin on the project in early 2013.

• heard the second reading of a resolution awarding a $367,285 contract to Vizmeg Landscaping Inc. for the addition of two new baseball fields at East Liberty Park. Construction is set to begin in early spring, city officials said;

• learned the city made about $26,837 through a recent auction of items no longer being used by the city;

• heard from Pickett the city soon will open bids for the Spade Road sewer project, which will start during the winter; and

• heard from Mayor Dick Norton the city administration is investigating the benefits of a compressed natural gas program in Green. He said it could provide the city with natural gas for about $1.90 a gallon and used to fuel city vehicles and the buses for Green Local Schools.

The next regular Green City Council meeting will take place Dec. 11 beginning at 5 p.m. for committee meetings and at 7 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers at the Green Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd. A second meeting in December will not be held due to the Christmas holiday.

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