Council approves alcohol consumption on public property

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Downtown patrons will soon be able to consume and possess beer and alcohol on public property after a permissive resolution was passed at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Lev’s Brew House owner Jason Levering’s request was granted for creating an “open air café area” on the city sidewalk out front of his business located at 111 S. Ohio Ave.

Prior to the vote, a discussion ensued on the stipulations within the resolution regulating noise, glassware and fence height. One of the main issues of debate was whether or not to allow glass in the “café” area for fear of injury or broken glass on the sidewalk. Although council debated its concern for the city’s liability (despite Levering’s required insurance policy), Councilman Joe Ratermann was in favor of allowing glass, as was City Manager Mark Cundiff, along with Councilman Steve Wagner, Mayor Mike Barhorst and Vice Mayor Mardi Milligan. They agreed the customer base attracted to Lev’s Brew House finds the type of drinkware (and dinnerware, in the future) used, as glass, is essential for the type of beer Levering offers, and these customers are less likely to be rowdy.

Ultimately, council moved to allow Levering’s outdoor speaker to remain, glassware to be used in the fenced-in area and the fence height requirement to be 42 inches. If problems arise from alcohol and glassware outside, it will be reviewed on a case-by-base basis. The permit will be immediately effective (upon the time of meeting patio requirements) until Oct. 31, 2016.

In other business, Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership Executive Director Mike Dodds presented council with the midyear update on the economic development efforts occurring in the city on council’s brand new audio/visual system. Dodds revealed for the first time, DP&L’s new website on the site certification program. He said the Amos site is one of the top 20 sites listed within Ohio’s site certified program, and that there is one other local site that may soon move also into the top 20.

Dodds presentation indicated Sidney is an ideal geographical location for businesses due to the proximity of the “seven (interstate) interchanges;” there are “at least 400 vacant jobs in Shelby County” however businesses are struggling to find qualified, available workers.

AGE aggregate consultant representatives for the energy provider the city will be switching to Jan. 1, provided council with a statistical update. They reported that approximately 46 percent of Sidney households were eligible to participate in the Residential Aggregation Program, and about 90 percent of these households are participating.

“The group should save approximately $546,000 over a 12-month period. This equates to roughly $120 per household participating in the program annually,” said AGE Managing Partner Jeff Haarmann.

In other business, Council adopted an ordinance that amends the city code pertaining to weeds. Starting in 2017 between March 1 and Dec. 31, the maximum grass height will be set at 8 inches, and the penalty fees will be $75 for a first offense, $150 for a second offense within the same calender year of the same area, and $250 for “each additional remedial action.”

Two ordinances were introduced concerning the amendment of part of an ordinance relating to residential solid waste collection, and amendments to the traffic control map.

The ordinance for garbage can placement was introduced and after extensive discussion, the consensus for the guidelines of first reading contained the following:

• Cans must be set out by 7 a.m. on pick up days, but not earlier than noon the day before, and must be removed by noon the following day.

• Cans must be stored in an enclosed structure, or at least 25 feet from the front building line of the house, with the goal of trash not being visible from the street, except during pick-up periods or (potentially) for homes with approved topographical hardships. This was a topic of contention among council.

Wagner and Milligan had issues with the requirement for cans to be stored in an enclosed structure or to be screened. Wagner was concerned that people would need to spend money on a screen after they were already required to use the city’s receptacles. Milligan said it may be difficult for the elderly or those without space to move the cans to another area and felt they should be allowed to be placed neatly along side of the residence.

• Solid waste contractors and/or code enforcement will be responsible for enforcement. If cans are over-flowing with trash, a tagged warning will be given the first time and trash will not be taken from continued offenders’ homes.

• Penalty of minor misdemeanor and fine will be applied for each day in non-compliance.

The ordinance to amend the city’s traffic control map included traffic controls within the Plum Ridge subdivision, new traffic signals at Vandemark and Industrial Drive and Fair Road and the Interstate 75 northbound exit ramp.

In addition to passing the consumption and possession of beer and liquor on public property, council adopted three other resolutions during the meeting, including:

• Authorization for a license to the archbishop of Cincinnati for use in connection with the Holy Angels Church in which the church is proposing to add a handicap ramp into the southerly entrance of the church from the city owned right of way on South Main Avenue.

• Authorization of a license to the Shelby County Libraries for use in connection with the installation of a raised pedestrian walkway across the city owned north-south alley between the Amos Memorial Library and its new parking lot to accommodate a raised walkway to slow traffic in the alley.

• The appointment Randy Rose to the zoning board of appeals.

Among council comments, Councilmember Darryl Thurber commended the construction company on the Michigan Street bridge replacement over CSX railroad. Milligan questioned when the paving of Port Jefferson Road would begin and was told it should start before the end of the week. Ratermann thanked Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director Gary Clough on behalf of Riverbend and Hilltop residents for addressing their needs. Barhorst thanked Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier for his presence and work in helping the American Legion with their ball diamond renaming event on Sunday.

At the end of the meeting, council went into an executive session to discuss pending or imminent court action and to consider the purchase of property for public purposes. No action was taken.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.