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01-13-04: New council overturns veto to allow manufacturing zones

Celina councilors retain utility rule that landowners must pay abandoned bills


Celina City Council, with a new lineup of members for 2004, unanimously closed the books Monday on two hotly debated issues left over from 2003 on a zoning issue and renters utility bills.
New members June Scott and Chris Mohler, who took over the seats of Bob Nuding and now Mayor Sharon LaRue, and the others on council overturned former mayor Paul Arnold’s year-ending veto of a zoning change that creates four light manufacturing zones.
The group also put into effect an updated Celina Utilities rules and regulations book, which enables cycle billing, increases initial deposits and retains a controversial clause stating landowners can be held responsible for abandoned utility bills.
A group of Celina-area landlords debated the policy changes with city officials as the legislation traveled through public meetings. Some landlords Monday praised director of administrative services Jeff Hazel’s efforts in combating delinquent payers.
“I appreciate that you are working on the problem, rather than wondering who is going to pay it,” Celina landowner Elmer Kuess said.
Likes some changes
Landlord Ken Werling said he appreciates the other policy changes, like the new $200 deposit and increased vigilance in locating delinquent payers, “since we’re going to get hung anyway.”
Prior to unanimously enacting the policy change, the council reversed a veto by former Mayor Paul Arnold. Arnold refrained from signing the ordinance that created a light manufacturing (M-2) district, and cleared the way for a used car dealership to open in the Celina Industrial Park, near Grand Lake and Havemann roads.
“We are really asking for the rezone to be more like the businesses in that area ... we have a beauty shop on one end and Wal-Mart on the other,” Jim Moran, a potential investor, told the council.
The council, less the absent Rick Bachelor, unanimously overturned the veto and put the zoning change into effect.
Members also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to increase drinking water rates by 20 percent, to pay for costs associated with engineering studies and well exploration in the quest for a new treatment plant.
“We will have a large infrastructure expense no matter which way we go,” Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined Celina $10,000 and is forcing the city to permanently fix the water treatment plant, so high trihalomethane (THM) levels are abolished. For 10 years Celina has exceeded the legal limit for THMs, a group of chemicals believed to cause cancer.
“This decision we’re about to make is going to affect us for a long time,” Sovinski said.
Council members decided to put more funds into exploring the option of well digging. Celina’s water plant is currently supplied by Grand Lake.
Digging to begin
Members passed an emergency ordinance providing $60,000 to dig wells on an alternative site, on a field owned by the Howick family east on Celina-Mendon Road and north of Ohio 197. A large well and two smaller observation wells were already dug on a field east of U.S. 127, but the wells did not produce the level of water officials hoped, Sovinski said. The same number of wells are planned for the alternative site.
City officials may choose an alternative to accepting a donation of 15 wooded acres from The Daily Standard publisher Frank Snyder. Members passed the first reading of a resolution accepting the gift, but decided to meet and discuss restrictions on the deed.
“I think this is a wonderful addition to Westview Park,” council President Bill Sell said.
The donation, known locally as the Miller Woods, comes with deed restrictions that prohibit the parcel from being developed, except for a caretaker’s house. It states the land is to remain wooded.
“It’s a very generous offer, but I’m a little bit concerned about the restrictions,” council member Collin Bryan said.



Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2004
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822


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