Council OKs rezoning for digital billboard

Wilson Health plans to erect digital sign

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council approved the rezoning of a parcel of land southeast of Wilson Health from an R-1, single family residential district to an I-2, general industrial district during Monday’s workshop session.

Wilson Health plans to construct a 45-foot-tall, monument-style, combination gateway sign and digital billboard at the southeast corner of the Fourth Avenue and Court Street intersection.

Barbara Dulworth, community development director, said the property is currently undeveloped and is adjacent to the limited access right-of-way on Court Street and Fourth Avenue and the railroad right-of-way to the south. Wilson’s plan for the sign is one of the few uses available given the limited access to the land.

During a discussion of the request at City Council’s last meeting on Jan. 13, Mayor Mike Barhorst asked for more information about the experience and background of the engineer who conducted the traffic safety study of the intersection. Monday he thanked Dulworth for providing him with the information requested and appeared satisfied with what he learned.

Again, adjoining property owner John Elliot, spoke up in opposition to the request for a fear drivers turning left from state Route 47 onto Fourth Avenue could become distracted by the sign. He said it will be in their direct line of vision. Elliot said the sign Wilson wants to place is much lower than the large digital sign above Francis Furniture at the intersection of Michigan Street and Vandemark Road. Sign creator John Kirirah, owner of Kenjoh Outdoor LLC, told council on Jan. 13 the sign above Francis Furniture has caused no traffic issues since placed last year at that intersection.

Kirirah told council the Wilson sign is actually about the same height as the Francis sign, within 5 feet, but due to the monument style and its decor, it appears to be lower to the ground.

Elliot also said although he understands the use of the land is considered to have limited access, he believes if someone comes along with enough influence or money, that access could change.

Dulworth responded saying the lot is 2.5 acres, about the size of an average fast food restaurant’s lot, and it would be very difficult to put any type of manufacturer on it. She told Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan, when asked, no type of variance would be permitted for the lot, and the city currently maintains the lot’s maintenance and will likely continue to do so.

Barhorst reassured Elliot he knew for a fact the state of Ohio would not allow any type of access there. He said they would not even allow an adjacent industry to put in a driveway where a driveway used to exist.

Myron Koester, owner of Perkins and Smok’n’ Jo’s BBQ, and Greg Long, Wilson Health chief operating officer, both again spoke in favor of the rezoning and the digital sign.

Prior to the vote, Barhorst said he was opposed to the sign only for fear of potential crashes.

The rezoning ordinance was adopted with a 5 to 1 vote, with Barhorst voting no.

In other business, council heard an update on the feral cat trap neuter release (TNR) clinics from Shelby County Deputy/Dog Warden Kelli Ward which just completed its fourth year of the program.

The Shelby County Animal Shelter, SCARF, and the city of Sidney has worked for the last four years with NOMAD’s Veterinarian Lauren Miller to reduce feral cat population. Ward said 636 cats have been spayed, neutered or euthanized, due to poor health, within Shelby County.

Property owners must call and give permission for the traps to be placed. The TNR clinic workers place cages with food and water in areas known to have feral cats running around. Captured cats are then taken to Miller, a mobile veterinarian who comes to town to help with the cats. They are first given a medical examination, spayed or neutered, given a rabies vaccination and then their ears are given a small tip so they can be recognized if they are ever recaptured. Volunteers then return the cats to the areas where they were captured.

Ward explained, after Barhorst asked for clarification, feral cats are basically unsocialized cats that you cannot approach. The will hiss or scratch, she said. Stray cats were once domesticated but have been abandoned or lost and are typically friendly.

She said a difference is definitely being made as a result of the clinics. Approximately 800 kittens have been prevented from being born.

In other business, at the end of the meeting, Council member Ed Hamaker said he has received calls about residents of other streets now having parking issues and seeing children walk through their yards since the city instituted the “No Parking” zone near Northwood Intermediate School. Council members had a brief discussion about the ongoing issue for other streets in the area. Council member Jenny VanMatre said they should try to encourage the use of the new access road paved at the school.

Barhorst also said he received a call about parking issues again on Fair Road since the new road has been completed near the middle school. Council will look at the issue at a future council meeting.

Wilson Health plans to erect digital sign

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.