BG tries to resolve east side issues
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Tuesday, 04 June 2013 10:38
Bowling Green City Council's Community Improvement Committee Monday night made its first recommendations on east side neighborhood issues.
The committee asked the full council to consider legislation to deal with dead trees on private property and to prohibit permanent signs on rental housing that list the owner of the property and other information.
Committee Chairman John Zanfardino said another session is planned June 17 at 6 p.m. to address issues raised April 15 and likely make additional recommendations.
The committee deferred action on a request for a crosswalk on Wooster Street between South College Drive and Mercer Road. Director of Public Works Brian Craft told the committee the city has talked with the Ohio Department of Transportation and Bowling Green State University about the crosswalk.
"We are looking at an area near Williams Street but want to wait until the university gets further along on its fraternity row plans," Craft said. The ODOT is involved because Wooster is a state highway, Ohio 64. Craft said the ODOT does not see a problem with a crosswalk.
Regarding a request for a crosswalk on South Main in the area of Sand Ridge Road, the committee suggested the best option was to walk to the traffic light at Napoleon Road. The four-lane width of South Main Street along with the 35 mph speed limit were cited as concerns. One resident suggested a pedestrian-activated light such as is used in the central business district.
The committee was also told the City Planning Department continues to work on updating its list of nonconforming use properties. "We have sent some notices, cleared some properties and are updating data," Planning Director Heather Sayler said. "It can be a very upsetting process for a property owner when we send a letter questioning the use of a property."
Several residents have suggested the city needs to gather and share current and historical data to help get a handle on problem properties.
Assistant Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said the city has looked into computer software designed to help departments gather and better share information. "We are looking at $80,000 as a base cost, licensing fees and probably needing two staff members to get the base map and data. That would be a huge challenge for us," she said. Tretter said the city staff is about 10 percent smaller than a few years ago. "We do communicate, but this (system) would be a big help for us."
Committee Chairperson John Zanfardino said he thought the sign issue would be easier to tackle than the tree issue. "The signs should not be on homes. A yard sign is one thing but to have that sign on a house is truly unpleasant."
Zanfardino said the tree issue would likely be on a complaint basis and needs guidelines. "Not everyone has $2,000 to take down a tree. It can get very expensive."
Committee Member Robert McOmber said there are liability issues with the trees and said he did not want to see the city's arborist "become a caretaker of all of the trees in the city."
Clough Street resident Karen Wood praised the work of the police department in the neighborhood last weekend but asked why a 30-year issue of a driveway not being paved had not been handled by the June 1 deadline.
Sayler wondered why Woods "was wasting the time of the committee" with the question. "The project should be done this week. We have a signed contract in hand. It's in the hands of the contractor," Sayler said.
Wood apologized for "wasting time" and pointed out there is a couch in the yard at 139 S. College Drive. "I do not want to wait 100 days" for its removal. Zanfardino said he would contact the Wood County Health Department. Wood said she "felt like the gerbil (running) in wheel."
Williams Street resident Russ Veitch took issue with comments by First Ward Council Member Daniel Gordon and other officials who said they saw few problems with the change in heavy trash pickup to March from May this year.
Veitch said there are four couches sitting outside a house at Wooster and Williams. He said city employees have been through the area several times and should have seen the problem. "My experiment has ended. I wanted to see how long it would take someone to see them and then remove them."
During the regular council meeting Craft told council the couches had been reported to the health department last Thursday.