|BG cuts zoning process|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK, Sentinel City Editor|
|Friday, 20 June 2014 08:56|
By a unanimous vote on Monday, Bowling Green City Council approved zoning changes that are expected to shave months off of the approval process for some projects.
"I think that this is a good compromise" between providing speed and a proper review process, said Council President Michael Aspacher.
The proposed changes relate to sections of the site plan approval process for S-District, or planned, zoned properties. Certain residential, commercial, institutional and park properties are included under that category.
The changes include removing a final public hearing before, and a vote by, council, cutting at least three months from what is often a six-month-long approval process. A hearing and vote by the Planning Commission would still be included, and serve as the final step in the process.
"We don't have many S-Districts left," indicated Planning Director Heather Sayler.
The matter was recommended to council earlier this month by the Planning Commission.
Prior to Monday's meeting, council's Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee held a public hearing on the issue. The committee, which included council members Theresa Charters Gavarone and Bruce Jeffers, ultimately decided to send the matter on to council for their vote.
They heard comments from resident William Herald, who urged for "a third alternative" that would allow for more public hearings if needed, and from Stan Korducki, president of Wood County Hospital. The hospital sought earlier this year to change the zoning for its facility due to the long S-District process.
"We believe what is on the table is superior," Korducki said of the zoning changes. "We don't think it limits the opportunity for community input."
At council, Councilman Bob McOmber noted that "A motivating factor behind this is that if (the Planning Department) approves the site plan, nobody has any real choice than to go along with it."
Councilman John Zanfardino added that the purpose of public hearings has been for input that could influence a developer's plans.
In other business, Municipal Administrator John Fawcett presented Council with previously-mentioned changes to chapters of city ordinances concerning sidewalks and streets. The maintenance of sidewalks was a major topic of discussion at the June 2 meeting of council, with one resident saying she had fallen several times and was hospitalized after one incident.
A total of $400,000 is available in the 2014 budget for unspecified roadway and sidewalk improvements. Fawcett had previously said the recession lessened the city's ability to work on sidewalks, but they are now able to fund more road surface and sidewalk projects than in the last seven years.
"As you know, it was a very deliberate and lengthy process," he said of the chapter revisions.
"This was really a lot of work put on by a lot of people."
"Obviously there has been much discussion recently about the state of our sidewalks," and the changes will be a good starting point, said Aspacher.
Council is set to review the altered language and discuss it in the future.
Fawcett additionally announced that the Independence Day fireworks are scheduled for July 3, presented by the city, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, and Bowling Green State University. The community band will play at 8 p.m., with fireworks commencing at dusk. The site will be the BGSU intramural fields.
In other business, council:
• Passed a resolution transferring previously appropriated funds to cover the costs of a summer intern working for the Planning Department.
• Passed an ordinance providing $15,000 in supplemental appropriations to pay for extra fuel costs incurred by winter snow plowing.
• Passed two ordinances authorizing Utilities Director Brian O'Connell to: apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant for improvements to the Water Pollution Control facility's grit removal system; and to advertise for bids and enter into contracts for the lease of city-owned farmland.
• Passed an ordinance supplementing the city's Codified Ordinances with ordinances enacted through Dec. 31, 2013, and revisions aligning the city code with the Ohio Revised Code. All changes reflected legislation already adopted by council.
• Heard from Fawcett that the first block of South Summit Street will temporarily be one-way due to construction at St. Aloysius Church.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 21 June 2014 02:57|
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