Council considers animal shelter annexation

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — An annexation for Shelby County’s future animal shelter was considered by Sidney City Council Monday evening.

Two ordinances were introduced on the property for the future animal shelter annexation. The first was to accept the annexation and the other was to establish zoning for the animal shelter. A public hearing was held on the zoning ordinance. No one from the public spoke on the matter.

In October, the Sidney Planning Commission recommended for council to approve the annexation after a public hearing was held during the meeting to consider establishing a community business district for the entire animal shelter annexation area. The annexation involves 6.88 acres of land on the north side of Gearhart Road and to the east of Children’s Home Road, which is currently crop farm land. The Shelby County Commissioners had petitioned for the annexation to make the property available for development with city utilities and services for a future kennel.

Barbara Dulworth, community development director, said the annexation is consistent with the city’s policies and objectives. She said the proposed annexation will not generate a substantial negative impact on city facilities and services.

Mayor Mike Barhorst questioned Dulworth if the property to the west will be annexed in the future as well. Dulworth said she doesn’t believe there are plans to do so. He then asked if there was a reason why. Dulworth responded that she thinks it has to do with paying income taxes. Barhorst then asked if they receive city water and sewage, which she replied, with confirmation from Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, that they do receive the utilities services. Some further discussion ensued about the potential annexation of that property to the west. Dulworth noted that the city has not gone to the county to compel reasons for the annexation and that it only informal conversations had been held up to this point.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan expressed concern with the high volume of sewage waste created by animals to be kept at the future shelter. Clough assured her the city could easily handle the volume.

During specific discussion about the zoning establishment for the animal shelter, Dulworth said the suggested plan recommends the designating a B-2 community business district for the entire annexation area. And if the approved, the shelter would be a conditional use permit.

She said the city’s land use plan of this area deems the appropriate uses to include public parks or open spaces, public and semi-public uses, and single family residences. The land use plan, she said, recommends development types that preserve 25 percent or more of the site in common natural and open spaces, which the long-term plan for the development of this property includes. Dulworth said the suggested zoning plan is in conformance with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Council was also introduced to an ordinance to amend water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste collection rates.

Finance Officer Ginger Adams told council the proposed water, sewer, stormwater and trash pick-up rates would increase rates from 1 to 4 percent. The low volume user’s bill will increase by $1.35 per month. The average family of four should see an increase of $2.92 per month.

If adopted, the new water and sewer rates will become effective Jan. 1, 2019. The new refuse and stormwater rates will become effective April 1, 2019, Adams said.

There was also a public hearing and an introduction of a final ordinance Monday to amend chapters of the zoning code prohibiting parking in front and side residential yards except on an improved parking surface. No member of the public spoke on the issue.

Dulworth told council there’s been a “marked increase recently” in the number of residences where vehicles regularly park in the grass area of the front and side yards. This practice, she said, “causes erosion control issues, is unsightly, and is a blighting influence for a neighborhood.“

After city staff conducted research,which was presented to the Sidney Planning Commission, Dulworth said, the commission resolved to recommend for council to approve the following changes to two chapters of the zoning code:

• Update the definition of a driveway in chapter 1103 to mean an improved area, constructed of asphalt, concrete, gravel, brick, pervious-type pavers, or similar materials, used as a means of ingress and egress.

• Clarify off-street parking in chapter 1141 to: No person shall park or leave unattended, or cause to leave parked or unattended, a vehicle, motorcycle, boat, recreational vehicle or similar device, wholly or partially within a front yard or side yard of any residential property, regardless of type, unless such vehicle, motorcycle, boat, recreational vehicle or similar device is wholly within a driveway or parking space or lots.

• Sections (a) and (b) of chapter 1141 on surfacing, will change to:

(a) Within the office, business, and industrial districts, all open off-street parking and loading facilities and vehicular use areas, shall be graded and provided with a paved surface, and shall comply with city engineering standards.

(b) Within the non-urban, suburban and residential districts, all driveway, parking spaces, and parking lots, wholly or partially within a front yard or side yard shall be constructed of concrete, asphalt, gravel or permeable type pavers and shall be maintained free of excessive weeds and grass intrusion. Within the N, S, and R Districts, no parking surface shall cover more than 35 percent of the front yard. Parking on an established lawn is prohibited.

Council member Ed Hamaker asked Dulworth if on occasion during special events such as family gatherings or parties, would people parked in the yard, due to lack of parking, be cited for doing so? Dulworth said it was possible, but unless neighbors complained it would be unlikely during temporary situations such as that.

Milligan asked how corner lots or lots next to alleys will be treated. Dulworth said it depends whether the yard is considered to be a front or back yard, which is defined in the zoning code. Yards of a corner lot that both have street frontage are considered front yards, Dulworth said.

All four ordinances will return to council for further discussion on Nov. 26.

Council also adopted a resolution granting a license to Salm-McGill & Tangeman Funeral Home to install a handicapped ramp on a city owned right of way. The ramp will be added to the southern entrance of the funeral home from South Ohio Avenue to Dallas Street.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.