Council approves replat of land for future gas station

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council approved a replat, Monday, that is intended to be the location of a future interstate travel stop gas station and convenience store at the intersection of Fair Road and Vandemark Road.

The resolution approved the replat of Charles M. Cole’s property to create two new lots southeast of the intersection of Fair Road and Vandemark Road in the community business and general industrial districts. The purpose of the land split is for a real estate transaction in which Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores is taking ownership of the north lot to develop the business.

The travel stop will include a gas station, convenience store, restaurant, tire store, truck scales, and semitrailer parking.

Council had several questions about the logistics of the project. Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan expressed concern about traffic back-ups on the roadway. Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, said a traffic study was completed to ensure traffic congestion will be limited. He said they will do additional signal modifications once the business opens. Left hand turns out of the business, Clough said, will be prohibited.

Clough also said Vandemark Road will be widened and mast arm signal posts will be installed at the location. With the exception of the cost of the signal post chosen, all necessary road and utility changes associated with the business will be Love’s Travel Stops’ expense.

It was questioned whether fire services protection would be sufficient for the location, which it was confirmed that it was.

Council member Janet Born asked when the project will begin. A representative for Love’s Travel Stops said they expect to begin next spring.

At the end of the discussion, City Manager Mark Cundiff reminded council the resolution they were voting on was only for the replat of the land.

In other business, council adopted two ordinances, to levy special assessments for construction and replacement of certain curbs and gutters in Sidney, and to assess the cost of weed cutting or removal of litter or junk.

Sidney’s Engineering Manager Randy Magoto said the city made the necessary repairs to certain curbs and gutters for property owners who did not complete the work on their own during 2017. A notice of assessments was published in the paper for three weeks, and city staff didn’t receive any objections to assessment amounts, Magoto said. Bills will be sent out two weeks after Monday’s adoption of the ordinance. Property owners will then have 60 days to pay the bill or have it placed on their property taxes over a five-year period.

Ginger Adams, finance officer, said property owners who were not in-compliance with the city code for the removal of litter or junk were invoiced the cost of the work plus 20 percent. For weed cutting violations, property owners were invoiced the cost of the work plus $75 for the first cutting, $150 for the second and $250 for each cutting afterward. The outstanding invoices are from Aug. 8, 2017 through Sept. 6, 2017.

She said a total of 53 properties for weed cutting will be assessed a total of $23,843, and 6 properties will be assessed $1,148.40 for junk removal.

Mayor Mike Barhorst noted that some of the same names, a couple which are deceased, that has been on the list for several years. He asked if city staff knows how long it will be until these estates are settled or if they will remain in a “zombie state.”

Jeffrey Amick, law director, said the unpaid taxes could come to the attention of the county prosecutor and he could initiate tax foreclosure proceedings, or anyone interested in the property could ask for appointment of an administrator for the property and the debt to be transferred.

Council member Steve Wagner asked if there was anyway for the city to no longer continue to incur costs associated with properties that have had no action for several years, for example.

Amick said for that to happen he thinks the city would need to encourage the county to begin tax foreclosure, or for the city to ask to be made administrator.

Other than the Cole replat, council also adopted six other resolutions, and they are:

• The adoption of the five-year financial plan for 2018-2022. The plan is the tool which council uses to determine funding availability for capital improvement and service priorities over the next five-years;

• The reappointment of Robert Baird to the Income Tax Board of Appeals for a new four-year term that will expire on Sept. 30, 2021. Baird has served on the board since 2009;

• The reappointment of John Garmhausen and Mary Ellen Paulus to the compensation commission for a new five-year term each, that expires on Oct. 1, 2022. Both Garmhausen and Paulus have served on the commission since October 2012;

• To authorize and direct the law director to initiate litigation against miscellaneous property owners in Sidney who have either failed to complete sanitary sewer lateral inspections or necessary repairs to the laterals. Laterals are underground pipes that carry water to the sanitary sewer main and their and connectors throughout the city.

The inspections and repairs are in conjunction with the city’s inflow and infiltration (I&I) program, which works to reduce clear water intrusion into the sanitary sewer system. This is the third year for the program that aims to reduce treatment for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Sidney properties were split into sections, and each year since the program’s inception in 2014, the city requires selected property owners to conduct property laterals inspections;

• To authorize the granting of a license to CMJT, LLC, for use in connection with the Piper building on South Main Avenue. CMJT is proposing to install concrete steps for access to the basement and first floor of the Piper building to meet building codes;

• To authorize the city manager to join over 40 municipalities to initiate litigation challenging the constitutionality of amendments to chapter 718 of the Ohio Revised Code regarding municipal income tax, and to ratify payment for legal services. Sidney is joining the fight against a provision in Ohio’s Biennial Budget Bill in which Ohio General Assembly has attempted to control the administration and collection of municipal income taxes, which is money the city of Sidney relies upon.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.