Public comments took up over half of Paulding Village Council’s regular meeting Monday, March 1, with plans shared for a possible business expansion and some intense discussion surrounding a few hot-button issues.
Businessman Jim Estle presented some plans to expand his used car business on East Perry Street (U.S. 127) at the bridge. He would to like to add a two-bay service department as well as a paved lot for another 50-70 cars.
Estle noted the service department would be open seven days a week until midnight and would create four jobs.
However, his property is landlocked except for a vacant lot to his south owned by the library. Estle hopes to buy or lease that land. Village officials advised Estle to contact the library board.
At the last meeting Feb. 16, council approved an emergency ordinance issuing a one-year moratorium on constructing new commercial buildings in the central business district. The question was raised whether the moratorium could impact Estle’s proposed plans. After much debate, officials said they believe the land in question is not included in the central business district.
Mayor Greg White noted council has to to approve any construction in the village. Plans and permits are required.
The building moratorium was brought up again when resident Matt Sunday addressed council with a lengthy list of questions and concerns.
Sunday asked for an explanation on why council passed the measure as an emergency instead of going through three readings. White responded, “There are times when the council probably feels … they need to have some kind of control over who, what is coming to town, where they’re coming to town, and so on.”
Sunday questioned whether officials were trying to stop someone from coming into town.
“I don’t have any comment,” White said.
He then added, “They felt it was something, at this point in time, it was the best decision for the village.”
Sunday asked, “was there someone breaking ground with a shovel the next day?” Councilman Dan Workman answered, “I don’t know how much of this we’re allowed to talk about … there was talk of that, and when you have all the vacant buildings that we have, that’s the reason for the (emergency) voting of the moratorium.”
Sunday also asked about snow removal around the square. Council said the county commissioners contract for the area inside of the square, around the courthouse. The village is responsible for the parking areas around the outside of the square.
The mayor pointed out the village’s first responsibility is for clearing the streets and residential areas for police, fire and EMS access.
During a snow emergency, apartment residents may park their vehicles at the village lot across from the Mexican restaurant.
For the second consecutive meeting, Sunday asked about enforcing the junk ordinance.
“You’re complaining to the wrong people,” Mayor White said. “When we had Mayor’s Court, we didn’t have this problem.” Junk ordinance violations are not prosecuted through municipal court.
Sunday complained about police giving the names of people who report junk violations, saying the practice discourages residents from contacting police.
Solicitor Harvey Hyman suggested that if residents have problem with a neighbor, they should try speaking to the neighbor before involving the police.
Turning to other matters, Councilman Randy Daeger reported the utilities committee discussed water leaks on residential property. It had been policy to offer a one-time annual credit in case of a leak. The committee recommended no longer offering credits.
If a resident has a leak, they have 72 hours to have it repaired before the water is shut off.
The committee heard concerns from Baker-Shindler Ready Mix about the recently approved water rate increase and its potential to adversely affect the business. Daeger said the committee will have another meeting and try to find a way to help resolve the situation.
Daeger reported the buildings and grounds committee met and considered the color of street lights around the square. Officials would like all lights to be the same color. They are asking residents for their input. Comments may be left on the village’s Facebook page.
The committee also discussed purchasing a vacant lot in the 100 block of South Williams Street. They recommended a $4,000 counteroffer. Administrator Jason Vance was given the okay to proceed with negotiations.
Vance announced bids were opened Monday for grant-funded skatepark equipment. He wants to move forward with the contract process, pending review by Maumee Valley Planning Organization.
Finance Director Zoe McMaster reported an ad has been placed for hiring pool lifeguards and concession workers this season and she has acquired the concession license.
McMaster updated council on income tax receipts, which are ahead of one year ago at this time.
In other business, council:
• Approved a park board request to proceed with installing a “Take A Book, Leave A Book” or “Little Free Library” station at LaFountain Park. Up to three locations may be established around town.
• Heard the first reading of Ordinance 1614-21 to change zoning classification of certain school-owned lots at Water and Wall streets.
• Heard the second reading of Ordinance 1611-21 prohibiting through traffic in the east-west alley bounded by Coupland, Perry, Summit and Jackson streets.
• Heard Councilmen Daeger, Barb Rife, David Burtch and Tim Boss will be up for re-election this year. Anyone interested in running for a council seat can pick up a petition at the election board office and are due by Aug. 4.
• Reminded residents that committee meetings and other meeting information is posted on the village’s website.
Committee meetings scheduled were:
• Salary and allowance and recreation joint committee meeting at 4:30 p.m. March 10 regarding pay for summer pool employees.
• Utility committee, 5 p.m. March 10, for further discussion of commercial water rates and downtown street lights.
• Ordinance committee, 5:30 p.m. March 10, to discuss a vacant building registration ordinance. Hyman encourages property owners and residents to attend and participate.
The next regular council meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 15. Watch via Zoom at https://us02web.- zoom.us/j/4451352151. The meeting ID number is 445 135 2151.