By Charlotte Caldwell
SIDNEY – The Sidney City Council adopted an ordinance changing the zoning code’s section about signs at a meeting on Feb. 27.
The ordinance was introduced at the council meeting on Feb. 13 and came about after the city’s staff reviewed proposed wall mural designs from the Shelby County Historical Society.
At the last meeting, Councilmember Mike Barhorst expressed concerns about allowing groups that might be unfavorable to some to put up signs with this change, and he brought up these concerns again. Multiple citizens, including Gateway Arts Council Director Ellen Keyes and Sidney Alive Executive Director Amy Breinich, spoke in support of the ordinance and increased art opportunities in Sidney, and multiple council members agreed. Keyes explained the historical society mural will be on pieces of sheet metal attached to the wall due to concerns about graffiti and being able to switch it in the future. After the discussion, all council members in attendance voted yes with Barhorst voting no.
With this change, the following paragraph will be added to the “exempt signs” section of the code: “Historic or educational signs affixed to a building wall or window area which do not include a commercial message, logo, or trademark, do not include information concerning a current or future event, and do not contain any property identification message.”
Other adopted ordinances – which were introduced at the Feb. 13 meeting – included the following:
• Changing the start time of City Council regular and workshop meetings to 5:30 p.m. The new time will start at the first regular meeting in March;
• Establishing an accumulated sick leave donation program for city employees;
• Allowing the city manager to waive collection of and/or forgive certain assessments to facilitate economic development in the city;
• Assessing the cost of securing and making safe two structures on Queen Street and Lake Street. Barhorst suggested the staff look at other municipalities’ ordinances regarding razing buildings as Sidney does not have a similar ordinance, and Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if there is a time frame for property owners to get boarded up windows fixed, to which Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth said there isn’t.
The first public hearing for the 2023 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program was held at the meeting and encouraged citizens to provide input on the program and potential projects.
Dulworth said Ohio’s Office of Community Development (OCD) expects to receive approximately $45 million CDBG funds and $27 million in HOME Investment Partnership Program funds, and the programs can fund many projects, including economic development; planning activities; street improvements; water supply; drainage and sanitary sewer improvements; park acquisitions and improvements; demolition of unsafe structures; and rehabilitation of housing and neighborhood facilities. One of the projects that could be funded with the funds is the Rental Revitalization program, which was discussed at the previous Rental Registration Ad Hoc Committee meeting. No citizens provided input at the hearing.
The council also adopted multiple resolutions, including:
• Waiving the building permit fees of $532.60 for a Habitat for Humanity home at 726 Broadway Ave.;
• Authorizing the city manager to enter into a special use agreement with Sidney Alive to permit alcohol at its Paddles, Pedals, and Pints event. Councilmember Joe Moniaci abstained from voting as he is the president of Sidney Alive’s Board of Trustees;
• Urging state legislators to restore the Local Government Fund (LGF) back to 3.68% as it was pre-recession. The current percentage is 1.66%, and the cumulative loss in funds for Sidney is estimated at over $5 million.
Councilmember Steve Klingler and Vice Mayor Steve Wagner were absent and excused by the council.
The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers.