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Riverlea NewsJanuary 2011

Reflections on Riverlea

Mary Jo Cusack photo.
Mary Jo Cusack, Mayor

Happy New Year to all. In lieu of Reflections, please read the 2010 State of the Village report.

The History of Riverlea - Part II Part I

Kirk McHugh, President Pro Tem, Riverlea Council

When we last left Riverlea, 249 lots had been approved for development on June 4, 1924. Plans restricting the development were in place and things looked good for the growing community. Unfortunately, the stock market crash of 1929 and the resulting Great Depression had a profound effect on the subsequent growth and development of Riverlea. Gas, electric, sewer and water lines (some of the same ones we now have that are in need of repair) were in place and the streets had been paved by 1930 (I want to say, original pavement too, but that really wouldn't be true).

With everything set, construction of the first house was begun by Jay Dick, project manager for the Van DeBoe-Hager Company. This initial house was completed with fanfare and built in the fashionable English Tudor style. The following spring, a second period residence was built in the style of a "Colonial Home." (If anyone in the village can identify these two homes, please send the information along to myself, or better yet, send it to Lois Yoakam for next month's newsletter.)

The death of Jacob Artz (original landowner who leased the development to Van DeBoe-Hager) in the spring of 1930 resulted in his daughter, Bertha Artz Schroyer, incorporating Riverlea. Jay Dick was made President and assumed control of all of the unsold lots. By now, the Great Depression was in full swing and the corporation controlling Riverlea was in financial difficulties. A court judgment for taxes forced an auction at the Courthouse on November 9, 1939 in which 66 lots were sold for prices ranging from $20 to $395. A total of 29 remaining lots received no bids.

Fortunately for the young development, residents had begun to take control of their own destiny and rapidly developed a plan to protect Riverlea from eminent failure. In February of 1939, thirty-four residents presented a petition to Sharon Township Trustees to incorporate "The Village of Riverlea." This act was most likely precipitated by the building of four new four family apartments on High Street, and the desire of the 17 current homeowners to control the future quality of their community. On April 9, 1939, the residents of the Village of Riverlea held their first elections choosing Harold Barber as the first mayor as well as six council members and a clerk-treasurer – a system that remains in place today.
(Taken in part from an article published in the Western Intelligencer by Jennie McCormick, Historian, Worthington Historical Society)

Draft highlights from the December 20, 2010 Council meeting

Mayor. Reported that municipalities are concerned about possibly losing the Local Government Fund taxes (approximately $25,000 per year for the Village.) The Mayor, Kirk McHugh, Scott Gordon and Steve Mershon met with Matt Greeson, Worthington City Manager and Michael Minister, Worthington City Attorney to discuss annexation. McHugh felt Worthington would be interested in Riverlea as a premier neighborhood. However, residents would be subjected to more oversight, not less, concerning zoning, etc. Worthington would not pay for roads, curbs, etc., but would assess Riverlea homeowners for those costs.

Gordon sensed it would have to be in Worthington's interest financially to annex Riverlea. Any study of financial interests would be at Riverlea's expense. Regarding connecting streets between Worthington and Riverlea, the Village could possibly deed back to residents the easements and then Worthington would have to use eminent domain.

The next step is to hear from the Board of Elections regarding the petition requesting Council to look into annexation with Worthington. No one on Council has seen this petition yet.

Planning Commission. No meeting in November and no new issues. Marshal. Reported 276 patrol checks with no citations or written warnings

Street Commissioner The lift station flow monitor should be operational soon. He reported a water leak in front of 302 W. Riverglen and reported it to the Columbus water department. He will continue work to get it repaired before it damages the street.

Planning Commission violations. The Solicitor reported that 5803 Dover and 138 W. Riverglen did not respond to communications regarding violations and he asked Council what they wanted to do next. The 5803 Dover residence has the most violations, including garage doors and painted plywood in lieu of windows. The 138 W. Riverglen residence violations consisted mostly of non-matching architectural details.

Council discussion included going to court (Environmental Court) to try to get compliance. The Court would probably try to get the two sides to reach a compromise or could tell the resident to comply. Discussion topics included:

Using construction bonds as a way of getting compliance in the future was discussed. The bonds would be purchased from an insurance company at a reasonable cost. The amount of the bonds would have to be high enough so that someone would not just forfeit the bond to get what they wanted even if it violated the COA. The Planning Commissioner suggested a bond of at least 10% of the construction costs.

A motion to take court action about the existing violations failed without a second. Since Council chose to not move forward on this, the Solicitor suggested clarifying the requirements of the Planning Commission and the penalties that could be imposed. In other words, Council needs to identify some ways to get compliance 90% of the time and have the option to go to court for the rest. Council agreed and said the construction bond would give the Village the teeth it needed to enforce compliance. The Solicitor will meet with the Planning Commissioner to discuss this and the issue of giving the Planning Commissioner some authority over matters that come up during construction without having to have a hearing.

Ordinance No. 03-2010, Annual Appropriation Ordinance was read by title for its third time and approved.

Tree work. The estimate was reduced to $3,200, which includes removing the dead pine tree in the circle and grinding down the stump.

Newsletters on the Web. After discussion that included accessibility standards and usefulness of old Newsletters on the Village's Web site, the Web Manager agreed with Council to keep the Newsletters going forward from 2010. The Web Manager will look into the cost of getting the old Newsletters compliant.

Executive session. Council went into Executive Session at 8:33 pm to conference with the Village Solicitor concerning a dispute that is the subject of a pending court action.

Council resumed Open Session at 8:45 pm and adjourned at 8:46 pm.

In memory of

Villagers were saddened to learn of the death of William G. (Bill) Sneberger, age 91, Friday, December 24, 2010. He retired from Western Electric in 1976 after 36 years of service. He is preceded in his wife Dorethea (Dee) Sneberger, and his daughter Judith Pugh. He and his family were long-time Riverlea residents at 282 Melbourne Place.

This and that

The Riverlea Directory will be distributed early in 2011. Many thanks for the new information.

Trash Collection Schedule

Regular Riverlea collection day is Monday. Local Waste Services observes six holidays. If the holiday falls on Monday, collection is the next day of that week. The holiday schedule follows:

2011 'Holiday' Trash Collection Day

New Years Day
Memorial Day
July 4
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
Monday, 1-3-2011
Tuesday, 5-31-2011 (Note Day Change)
Tuesday, 7-5-2011 (Note Day Change)
Tuesday, 9-6-2011 (Note Day Change)
Monday, 11-28-2011
Tuesday, 12-27-2011(Note Day Change)

Mark your 2011 calendar for our Village Council Meetings

All scheduled 2011 Village Council meeting dates and locations are available on the Council Meeting Schedule

See Residents Home page for more calendar items

Villagers may place classified ads. Professional services ads are not accepted. Ads must be of reasonable length; they are edited as needed to fit the space. Letters should be no more than about 200 words and must be signed. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Please submit electronically or by mail to News Editor, 263 Melbourne, or RiverleaNews@riverleaohio.com
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