SIDNEY — The city of Sidney Community Development 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 2018.
Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth has submitted the following report:
Staff reviews proposed development for compliance with local regulations and presents cases to the Planning Commission or Zoning Board of Appeals as necessary. Staff presented a total of fifteen cases to the Planning Commission in 2018. The majority of these cases were requests for replats or lot splits. A total of sixteen cases were presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals, including conditional uses and variances. In addition, the Zoning Code was amended to prohibit the parking of vehicles in front and side yards except on a paved driveway or parking area.
A total of 406 residential building permits were issued in 2018. Residential building permits issued include: new residential units (11 permits); additions, porches, and decks, (16 permits); HVAC, electric/gas turn-on, and rewire (315 permits); new garages, accessory buildings and renovations (49 permits); and other miscellaneous permits (13 permits). The number of electric/gas turn-on permits is due primarily to Vectren’s gas line replacement program.
Zoning permits issued in 2018 totaled 191 permits. Twenty one site plan permits were issued for new buildings or expansion of commercial or industrial development with total investments of over $ 34.5 million. In addition, 16 use compliance certificates were issued for new businesses moving into or expanding in an existing building. A total of 63 permits were issued for permanent and temporary signs, and 91 fence permits were issued.
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 959 violations were addressed in 2018. The greatest number of violations were junk, garbage, and litter (442) with high grass and weed violations following (304). The regulations for high grass and weeds were amended in 2017 to reduce the maximum height of grass and untended vegetation to eight inches from the previous regulation allowing up to twelve inches. The property owner or occupant corrected 401 (51%) of the violations, with the City’s contractor correcting the remaining.
City Council enacted a new vacant property registration in 2018. The regulation became effective in August. A total of 109 properties were sent notices to register the vacant property in the last four months of 2018. Twenty-six properties have been registered thus far, with fifteen inspections completed. Eighteen properties have been granted an exemption from the registration requirement.
Two major activities are planned for 2019: continuing the newly established vacant property registry and initiating the re-writing of the City’s Zoning Code. The rewriting of the Zoning Code is estimated to take between eighteen months and two years. Development is projected to continue at a steady pace for residential construction, while commercial and industrial development is expected to continue to increase over the next year.