SIDNEY — The city of Sidney Community Services Department provides a wide variety of professional development and planning services to the citizens of Sidney.
“The Department is responsible for ensuring compliance with city ordinances for the development and continued maintenance of every property in the city, including review and approval of permits, inspections, and enforcement of the city’s building, zoning, and property maintenance regulations. Between on-going development, grant administration, and special projects, the Department remained exceptionally busy throughout 2016,” said Barbara Dilworth, director.
Her report continues:
Staff reviews proposed development for compliance with local regulations and presents to the Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals as necessary. Staff presented a total of sixteen cases to the Planning Commission in 2016. The majority of these cases were requests for replats or lot splits. One annexation was accepted in 2016, and the city’s zoning map was updated as well. A total of 25 cases were presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals, including conditional uses, variances, and expansion of non-conforming uses: almost triple the number of cases heard in 2015.
Staff reviews a wide variety of permit applications for compliance with the city’s Codified Ordinances. Across the board, the number of permits and the pace of development/ building activity increased notably in 2016.
A total of 550 residential building permits were issued in 2016. Residential building permits issued include: new residential units (17 permits); additions, porches, and decks, (24 permits); HVAC, electric/gas turn-on, and rewire (445 permits); new garages, accessory buildings and renovations (50 permits); and other permits (14 permits). The number of electric/gas turn-on permits is an increase of over 200 permits, due primarily to Vectren’s gas line replacement program. Even removing those permits, the number of building permits issued increased by almost 20 percent over 2015 permits.
Zoning permits issued in 2016 totaled 211 permits. Nineteen site plan permits were issued for new buildings or expansion of commercial or industrial development. In addition, 21 use compliance certificates were issued for new businesses moving into or expanding in an existing building. A total of 86 permits were issued for permanent and temporary signs, and 85 fence permits were issued. The total number of zoning permits issued increase by 10 percent over 2015.
Staff is charged with ensuring that properties throughout Sidney are in compliance with the rules set forth in the city’s Codified Ordinances and the Residential Code of Ohio. Staff inspects property maintenance, signage, occupancy of buildings, and construction activities. They also respond to citizen complaints and inquiries, and administer enforcement actions.
A total of 1,032 violations were addressed in 2016. The greatest number of violations were junk, garbage, and litter (513) with high grass and weed violations following (275). The property owner or occupant corrected 727 (70 percent) of the violations, with the city’s contractor correcting the remaining.
Staff conducted public forums, steering committee meetings, and surveys as part of the process of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, Imagine Sidney 2025. The draft Plan was completed and the review process begun, which will continue into early 2017.
In the upcoming year, the update to the comprehensive plan will be completed. Public review and comment of the draft plan will be conducted, as well as review by the Steering Committee, and Planning Commission before the plan is forwarded to Council. Other projects planned for this year include review and possible revision of various section of the Zoning Code. In addition, an education and enforcement effort will begin this spring to inform property owners and residents of more restrictive high grass regulations enacted in 2016.