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Council votes down property rezoning PDF Print E-mail
Monday, June 17, 2013 9:57 PM


Herald Editor

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DELPHOS — Rezoning of property at 215 North State St., Lot 903, owned by Stan Wiechart, from Residential 1 to Business 2 was defeated by Delphos City Council on a 4-2 vote Monday evening in front of a packed house.

Wiechart had expressed interest in selling the property to Fischer Plumbing and Heating. Owner Jason Buettner said he was going to put up a metal building to house his equipment and supplies and use the rest of the property for parking.

More than 50 concerned residents attended the meeting with their spokesperson, Dave Ricker, speaking for the group. Ricker presented a petition with 126 signatures against the rezoning, citing decreased property values and what the neighbors of the property felt were safety concerns, including increased risk of injury from accidents because of constant truck and heavy-equipment traffic and the presence of portable toilets, not only because of aesthetics but also sanitary concerns and children playing and being inquisitive in the area.

Councilman Joe Martz questioned several points of Ricker’s presentation, stating several of the issues were not what had been said in previous public discussions about the matter.

“I just want to make sure everyone knows that some of what you have stated is not true,” Martz said. “I want to try and be a mediator in this situation. We need to find a way to make this work. We need to be a community and act like a community. We are losing jobs and we can’t afford to lose any more.”

Ricker stated Buettner has refused to fence the portable toilet storage area.

To the contrary, what Buettner had said at previous council meetings was he was willing to put up a two-sided fence to enclose the portable toilets and it was his desire also to keep children from playing on his property.

Ricker also stated Buettner has refused to consider making his proposed 60-by-80-foot steel building more pleasing to the eye.

What Buettner said was he hadn’t given the concept much thought.

Councilman Jim Knebel, acting as president pro-tem for Monday’s meeting, said he felt it was a no-win situation.

Buettner was permitted to address council and residents before the vote was taken.

“I just want to continue to do business in Delphos,” he said. “The stories have escalated quite a bit.”

After the vote, Buettner said he had a contingency plan if the measure failed and would be moving his business out of town.

“I still own the property on Second Street. That’s not going anywhere,” he said. “All I wanted to do was build a building and put my equipment away. Now I’m leaving and so are 11 jobs.”

Martz and Councilman Kevin Osting voted “yes” on approving the rezoning. Councilmen Mark Clement, Rick Hanser, Jim Fortener and Knebel voted “no.”

Residents who fail to maintain their properties to city ordinances may find “hiring” the city a little more expensive. Council heard on first reading an ordinance to raise the charge to have uncontrolled vegetation growth removed by the city to include but not be limited to: $200 minimum for the first hour or any increment thereof and $100 for any hour any increment thereof after the first hour and a $50 administrative fee.

Safety Service Director Greg Berquist said that in past, the city has charged too little to have its workers go to properties and clean them up that it is more attractive for the resident to let that happen than to hire a service to do it.

“We were charging them less than if they had to hire someone to do it,” Berquist said. “That just doesn’t make sense, so we looked at some other municipalities’ ordinances and brought it more in line. It should be painful for the city to have to do that work. We don’t have enough staff the way it is and we’ve eliminated a position from the Parks Department. The city is not in the business of lawn care.”

Stolly Insurance will provide property, general liability and fleet insurance for the city. Council suspended the rules and passed on second reading the ordinance authorizing a 3-year contract with the company. The first year’s contract is at $73,095, less than last year’s and covers the city from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014. Council will have the opportunity to review the second and third years of the contract.

Council passed on third reading an ordinance amending section 145.03 of the codified ordinances for the city, modifying the age requirement for firefighter in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code. The section will now include language stating, “No person shall be eligible to receive an original appointment as a firefighter in the fire department, subject to the civil service laws of this state, unless the person is between the ages of 18 and 41.” Amended language reads: “No person shall be eligible to receive an original appointment on or after the person’s 41st birthday.”

In other business, council:

• Approved waiving the tap-in utilities fee for the Habitat For Humanity at the corner of Tenth and Washington streets;

• Approved the donation of one family season swimming pass to Community Health Professional for its annual benefit auction; and

• Heard on second reading an ordinance approving the proposed 2014 Budget that needs to be filed with the county by July 15. The budget shows the General Fund with a $5,000 deficit at the end of 2014. A public heard will be held on the budget at 6:45 p.m. July 1.

Last Updated on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:36 PM

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