Building BG trust: Mayor, council say there’s work to be done after zoning vote


By Peter Kuebeck

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Discussion continued at Monday’s council meeting over concerns about neighborhood conditions.

Council on Monday voted to approve the city’s zoning code after approving a number of amendments. Before that vote, during lobby visitation, Resident David Drain told council what he would like to see happen going forward.

He said that, regarding rental property registration, he compared the city’s registration database to what he saw “on the ground.” He said that he’d found 148 rental properties in the city hadn’t registered – which Drain said amounted to $37,000 a week in fines under the city’s registration ordinance.

“I think we should enforce the law,” he said.

Drain said he’d also been shown the new system being tested that would allow residents to report nuisance properties.

“We expect the city actually enforce its laws, and use the nuisance property laws to declare properties a nuisance if they truly are,” he said.

Drain also suggested that the city and Bowling Green State University create a commission involving people in elected offices, citizens, students and faculty.

“So that we can actually take advantage of this relationship to foster more beneficial interactions between the students and the people in town,” Drain said. “We can also use that commission to resolve some of the disputes we have” over issues like housing, vandalism and drunken behavior.

“It would not cost a penny,” he said.

Speaking later, Mayor Mike Aspacher said that during the process to create and discuss the new zoning code, there had been a lot of discussion about concerns around neighborhood housing conditions.

“These are legitimate,” he said.

Aspacher reiterated his support for a comprehensive review of the city’s nuisance laws with an eye toward creating a more strict code to begin addressing housing conditions.

“I think it’s up to us to begin to develop some laws as part of our nuisance code, he said.

They should begin to provide additional tools for those who enforce those laws, Aspacher said. Among the work should be a comprehensive assessment of enforcement protocols and procedures.

“I’ve been saying this for a long time, but I just want to reiterate my support for these processes,” Aspacher said. “The concerns, the complaints that we’ve heard are legitimate.”

Councilman Jeff Dennis also said that there is work to be done on this issue.

“I appreciate that we’ve got a lot of plans to increase enforcement and … compliance in our residential neighborhoods. I appreciate that we’ve seen some action on that. I know that there is more on the horizon. That being said, a key takeaway for me in this process is we do not have the public trust when it comes to code enforcement,” Dennis said.

He said that rebuilding that trust is a necessary step before moving forward.

Also at the meeting, council:

• Saw the Human Relation Commission’s Honor Roll Award presented to Wood County CASA, which recruits and retains volunteers for children in the court system who have experience abuse and neglect.

• Heard from Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter that the new municipal building will open July 18 at 8 a.m. The current building and the new building will be closed July 14 and July 17 to facilitate the move.

• Heard from Public Infrastructure Director Brian O’Connell that a letter has been sent to residents of the Village subdivision outlining substantial work that is upcoming in the neighborhood, including waterline replacement, sewer relining, curb replacement and street repaving, occurring this year into next year. He said that an open house-style public meeting will be held in the Veterans Building at City Park on June 21 at 5:30 p.m. for residents to get information about the project.

• Introduced two ordinances related to the new assistant utilities business office manager position which was included in the 2023 budget. According to the legislative package document prepared for council, this position will replace a finance specialist position (assuming a current finance specialist is promoted). The position will assist with the audit, budget, financial analysis, cost of service studies and be a backup in the manager’s absence.”

• Introduced an ordinance amending section 96.02 of the codified ordinances regarding underage alcohol. According to the legislative package document, the Ohio Revised Code “recently made changes to the underage alcohol statute and City Attorney (Hunter) Brown has modified the appropriate city sections to align with the ORC. Specifically, the level of charge has been changed from” a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree misdemeanor.

• Introduced an ordinance authorizing O’Connell to enter into contracts for engineering services related to the potential development of a second electric distribution circuit to the north in the city. According to the legislative package document, “in looking at the system, and in the continuing effort to improve reliability for all customers, the city is considering developing a second distribution circuit to the north.” Funding for the work was included in the 2023 budget and “the work will include consideration of various routes for the feed including evaluation of easements, construction and maintenance costs and potential customer connections.”

• Introduced an ordinance amending Section 32.01 of the Codified Ordinances of the city regarding definitions, specifically the definition of “post.” Due to the move to the new municipal building, the definition of “post” will be changed to “To display on the city of Bowling Green website ( or at the municipal building during the regulation business hours.”

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