The Council of the Village of Riverlea met on the above date at the Thomas Worthington High School, Worthington. The following Council members were present: Mayor Mary Jo Cusack, Jon L. Ankrom, Scott K. Gordon, Donald E. Griffith, Briggs W. Hamor, Eric A. MacGilvray and Kirk M. McHugh (President Pro-Tem). Also present were Pamela M. Colwell, Clerk-Treasurer, Steven W. Mershon, Solicitor, William P. Charles, Street Commissioner, Michael Jones, Planning Commissioner, Karen McElmurray, Marshal, Jody Jones, Web Manager and Lois Yoakam, Newsletter Editor. At 7:05 pm the Mayor called the meeting to order.
The minutes of the regular Council meeting of November 15, 2010 were not read since each member had received a copy. McHugh moved and Ankrom seconded a motion that the minutes be approved as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Report of the Clerk-Treasurer
McHugh moved and Hamor seconded a motion to approve the payment of bills and to accept the financial report for November 2010, as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
The Clerk-Treasurer reported that the invoices from American Legal Publishing for the code update came in well under the estimate. Council had approved up to $1750 and the actual cost was $1021.75.
Report of the Mayor
The Mayor reported that all municipalities are concerned about possibly losing the Local Government Fund taxes because the State wants to keep the money. This is approximately $25,000 per year for the Village.
She thanked Bill Charles, the Street Commissioner, for all of his hard work on the streets and lift station flow monitoring system. The Village is very fortunate to have him.
The police contract has been signed by Worthington.
She thanked McHugh for the wreaths at the entrance markers and putting the garland and bows on the Village sign on Olentangy Blvd. It is the best it has ever looked for Christmas.
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 stated that he felt Worthington would be interested in Riverlea as a premier neighborhood. However, our residents would be subjected to more oversight, not less, concerning zoning and other ordinances since their code is much larger than Riverlea's. Also, Worthington would not pay for roads, sewers, curbs, etc. but would assess Riverlea homeowners for those costs. Gordon said he sensed it would have to be in Worthington's best interest financially to annex Riverlea. Without a study being done, they did not see that being the case. Any study would be at Riverlea's expense. Regarding connecting streets between Worthington and Riverlea, McHugh stated that the Village could possibly deed back to residents the easements and then Worthington would have to use eminent domain. The Mayor said the next step is to wait 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.
She asked where we were regarding increasing the construction bonds and the Solicitor said he is looking into it.
Hamor will be purchasing the new flag poles soon. He just has not had the time.
The Mayor has asked for Council's input for the State of the Village Report. She suggested they read the past reports and to let her know if they have any new ideas or suggestions.
Report of the Solicitor
There was no report. He will make his comments throughout the meeting.
Report of the Planning Commissioner
The Commissioner reported there was no meeting in November and no new issues.
Report of the Marshal
The Marshal reported 283 patrol checks with no citations or written warnings.
Report of the Street Commissioner
The Commissioner reported that the lift station flow monitor should be operational soon.
He discovered a water leak in front of 302 W. Riverglen and reported it to the Columbus water department. In the meantime it has gotten worse and he will continue to try to get it repaired before it does a lot of damage to the street
Report of the Newsletter Editor
The Editor would like copy for the Newsletter by January 5th.
She thanked McHugh for his article last month and he will be providing part two for the next Newsletter.
The directory should be ready to distribute sometime in January
Report of the Web Manager
The Web Manager got the photos of Village officials that were missing for the Web site.
Report of Parks and Recreation
There was no report.
Report on Safe Routes to School Committee
Hamor reported he did not receive any email responses from the Newsletter article. That may be due to the cold weather and he hopes spring will get a better response.
Comments from Residents on Agenda Items
There were no comments on agenda items.
Planning Commission Violations The Solicitor reported that 5803 Dover and 138 W. Riverglen did not respond to communications regarding their Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) violations and he asked Council what they wanted to do next. The 5803 Dover residence (Blanchard) had the most violations, including garage doors and painted plywood in lieu of windows. The 138 W. Riverglen (Sinclair) residence violations consisted mostly of non-matching architectural details.
Council discussed this at length. Going to court was the next option at this point to try to get compliance. The Solicitor said we would file in Environmental Court. The Court would probably first try to get the two sides to reach a compromise. Or the Court could tell the resident that he had to comply. Some Council members felt this was not the best use of taxpayer's money and it may not actually get the desired results. They felt a responsibility to the residents and to the Planning Commission to not sit by and let others get away with not complying. It was not fair to those who follow the laws. However, Council did not see this as the best solution and, overall, it may be more trouble than it is worth. Gordon acknowledged that at some point Council will have to act and go to court to enforce compliance, but he did not feel these cases were worth it. MacGilvray thought it would cause residents to get upset and it would cost too much money for a questionable result. Ankrom was interested in finding a way to keep violators from doing business in the Village. Hamor thought it would be better to move forward by changing the current laws to prevent this in the future. Griffith said Council needed to decide if they wanted full compliance or be willing to negotiate. Bill Charles wanted Council to look at the degree of the violation and what the intent was before taking any action. Jody Jones said Council had to be responsible to the other residents even if it means going to court.
There was more discussion of having construction bonds as a way of getting compliance in the future. The bonds would be purchased from an insurance company at a reasonable cost. Gordon wanted the amount of the bonds 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.
McHugh moved to take Blanchard to court and to table action on Sinclair. There was no second. The motion failed. 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. McHugh 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.
Tree Work Estimates McHugh reported that he was able to get the estimate down further to $3,200, which includes removing the dead pine tree in the circle and grinding down the stump. Council and the Mayor thanked him.
Ordinance No. 03-2010 Ordinance No. 03-2010, Annual Appropriation Ordinance was read by title for its third reading. Hamor moved and McHugh seconded the motion to amend Ordinance No. 03-2010, Program 300 – Leisure Time Activities, 320 Provide and Maintain Parks, 300 Contractual Services from $5000 to $8500 and Program 400 – Community Environment, 410 Community Planning and Zoning, 600 Miscellaneous from $2000 to $6000. The total of all appropriations will change from $391,500 to $399,000. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). Ankrom moved and Griffith seconded the motion to adopt Ordinance No. 03-2010. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Newsletters on the Web The Mayor thought it would be a good idea to have all of the old Newsletters on the Village's website. They give some history of the Village, especially since there is a large gap in the records of minutes. The Web Manager had removed the current Newsletters because very few people looked at them. She did not want to add the scanned copies of old Newsletters due to accessibility issues. If the copies are not compliant with accessibility standards the Village could be liable in a lawsuit. The Newsletter Editor and MacGilvray wanted the current year archived on the website and the Web Manager said she could do that. Ankrom moved and Griffith seconded the motion to keep the Newsletters on the website going forward from 2010. The Mayor asked the Web Manager to look into the cost of getting the old Newsletters compliant.
Resolution No. 2010-29 MacGilvray introduced Resolution 2010-29, A Resolution to Provide Legal Counsel for the Village of Riverlea. Ankrom moved and Gordon seconded the motion to suspend the three readings. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). MacGilvray moved and Hamor seconded the motion to adopt Resolution 2010-29. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Ordinance No. 04-2010 Gordon introduced Ordinance No. 04-2010, An Ordinance Enacting and Adopting a Supplement to the Code of Ordinances for the Village of Riverlea, Ohio, and Declaring an Emergency. Hamor moved and MacGilvray seconded the motion to suspend the three readings. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). Gordon moved to adopt Ordinance No. 04-2010 and declare an emergency. Ankrom seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0).
Business for January The Mayor reminded Council that the Marshal and Street Commissioner need to be appointed annually. They may want to consider a pay increase for the Web Manager.
A motion was made by Ankrom to go into Executive Session pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22(G)(3) to conference with the Village Solicitor concerning a dispute that is the subject of a pending court action. Griffith seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). The Council adjourned to Executive Session at 8:33 pm.
Gordon made a motion to adjourn out of Executive Session and resume Open Session. McHugh seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). The Council resumed Open Session at 8:45 pm.
Comments from Residents on Non-Agenda Items
There were no comments on non-agenda items
Next Meeting Announcement
The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm at the Thomas Worthington High School, Room 185.
There being no further business, MacGilvray moved and Hamor seconded a motion to adjourn. The motion was approved unanimously (6-0). The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 pm.