City News

Posted on: February 16, 2018

Council Docket Includes School Rezoning, Design Review Changes

City Council considered a rezoning for the Galion City Schools during its Feb. 13 meeting. Several parcels within the campus are currently zoned R-1B (Single Family), R-1C (Single Family Residence), and GC (General Commercial). The rezoning would put these parcels in an Educational Services district, a new district created during the previous council meeting.

Several citizens spoke about the issue. Judy Lawrence, a neighboring property owner, was concerned about the expense of the school’s plans to build new facilities, such as a bus garage and athletic fields. She asked if taxes would increase in order to pay for those facilities.

School Board President Grant Garverick clarified that while the district does have long-range plans for developing the campus, the rezoning of the property must be done in order for any project to move forward. Mike Mateer, a school board member, noted there is a vocal minority that does not want to see the schools grow. Based on his conversations with neighbors, the concern is over the proposed bus garage, for which a noise study was conducted.

After a public hearing for the rezoning council moved into the first item of legislation, which was to approve the rezoning (not any specific project of the school district).

Law Director Thomas Palmer explained the current zoning for the school’s property is incompatible with the allowable uses and makes it difficult to expand—even to build an addition to a school building. “This is a ten-year oversight,” he said, adding that a bus garage would still be a conditional use that must go through the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Councilman Tom Fellner commented that a school system is one of the most important aspects of any community. Ord. 2018-4 passed unanimously as a first reading.

Ord. 2018-5 modified several sections within chapter 1311 of the Codified Ordinances which pertains to the Design Review Guidelines. The legislation states the purpose is to “Protect and preserve these resources and to prevent intrusions and alterations within the established district(s) which would be incompatible with their established character.”

Palmer explained the legislation affects three changes:

  • Removes the additional design criteria. Instead, council will set overall rules based upon the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, and empower design review boards to adopt guidelines for each district and update guidelines as building materials change.
  • Changes the western boundary between the Uptowne and Historic West Main districts to Gill Avenue in order to create a single set of guidelines for commercially zoned areas. Also removes Pierce and Riblet streets from the district.
  • Combines the current Uptowne and Historic West Main boards.

The design review boards have been working on updated guidelines to make the process more user-friendly.  The legislation passed 5-1 as a first reading, with Councilman Mark Triplett dissenting. Councilman Bill Comerford was absent.

Ord. 2018-6 authorized application and acceptance of a FEMA grant for 20 replacement breathing apparatus units for the Fire Department. The grant amount is $153,000, including a local share of $7,650. It passed unanimously as a final reading.

Ord. 2018-7 amended the Galion Codified Ordinances to increase payment cap for indigent burials. The city is now authorized to pay up to $1,000 for the cremation costs for indigent persons.

Ord. 2018-8 gave consent to allow the Ohio Department of Transportation to replace a bridge guardrail on State Route 309, near Granny’s Kitchen. The project will be done at no cost to the city.

Ord. 2018-9 authorized a partnership agreement with the Crawford County Commissioners and City of Bucyrus for the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program. The county administers any state funds awarded for CDBG, HOME and Ohio Housing Trust Fund.

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