July 1, 2008
City Staff Members Present:
The July 1, 2008 Planning Commission meeting was called to order by Mrs. Thomas-Roth. Attendance was taken and Mr. Bruns and Mr. Butler were absent.
1. Mrs. Thomas-Roth asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the March 4, 2008 meeting. There were no corrections so Mr. Marsh moved that the minutes be accepted as prepared. Mayor Goudy seconded the motion. All concurred and the minutes were accepted as prepared.
2. Discussion of new ordinances concerning Video Ready Access Devices (VRADS).
Mr. Applegate said that he had distributed information at the last meeting on the installation of Video Ready Access Devices, known as VRADS. At that time, the members said they wanted to look at establishing regulations for the City of Union.
Mr. Applegate said they have reviewed sample ordinances from Vandalia and Englewood and were developing ordinances to present to the city council.
There are several different ways of adopting these new regulations. The zoning code can be amended, as they did in Englewood, or like Kettering and some other cities have done, they have added the regulations in the right of way code and have a separate ordinance dealing with private property. After meeting with the law director, Mr. Applegate suggested modifying the sample ordinance from Vandalia and adding to the existing right of way portion of Union’s code, with a separate ordinance on private property if this is agreeable to the planning commission.
Mr. Applegate said they would be asking that these ordinances be passed as an emergency because as mentioned in the last section of the ordinance, "for the public peace, health, safety and welfare and for the further reason that it is important to protect against utility structures being installed within the City Right of Way.....".
The other ordinance basically says that these structures are not allowed in the front yard or in the side yard. This will protect the property values and require the utility companies to get a permit so the utility boxes are properly installed and landscaped and it would be at the company’s expense. The city is not prohibiting the utility boxes, only maintaining control.
Mrs. Thomas-Roth asked about the size of the utility boxes. Mr. Applegate said he was told that some of the boxes can be as tall as eight feet in height, as wide as four feet, and as deep as thirty-six inches. Mr. Applegate said they take fiber optic cable and convert it to hard wire, and the boxes have to be fairly close to get service to everyone. Mr. Applegate said the size would vary depending on how many houses they would need to serve.
In the ordinance, they may add a section allowing the City Manager to delegate authority to the building/zoning inspector to insure the utility boxes are in compliance.
Mrs. Thomas-Roth asked what would be considered "landscaping" and Mr. Applegate said it could be fencing or numerous things. Mr. Applegate said they would be open to what the utility company is presenting. He said the ordinance specified that they also have to notify the neighbors or anyone within one hundred feet.
Mr. Applegate said it was staff’s recommendation that this be forwarded to the council and be passed as an emergency.
There was a discussion about whether the homeowner or the utility company was responsible for maintaining the screening, landscaping, etc. Mr. Marsh asked how the city should define landscaping. Mr. Applegate said that since the city will issue the permit, they would have a say in that. The ordinance also says fifty percent opacity is required, meaning that half of the box has to be hidden from the view of the neighbors.
The city will determine what is suitable on an individual basis.
Mrs. Thomas-Roth moved to forward the two VRAD ordinances to the City of Union council. Mr. Marsh seconded the motion. All concurred and the motion was passed.
3. Open Agenda
Mr. Marsh asked if the pre-inspection process was moving along smoothly. He said he had noticed some properties for sale. Mr. Applegate said there had been a few negative reactions from people that had to fix driveways, spouting, etc. He said some of the banks were not happy either because people had to commit to fixing up the properties when purchased. Mr. Applegate added that the process was working. He said that if not for that, properties would be sitting as is and no repairs would be made.
4. Mr. Marsh moved that the planning commission meeting be adjourned. Mayor Goudy seconded the motion. All concurred and the meeting was adjourned.