Galion City considers tattoos, ramps
By Matt Echelberry
On Dec. 11, Galion City Council held the second readings for Ord. 2012–92 and Ord. 2012–93. Both amended the Planning and Zoning Code to include tattoo and body piercing services, and residential handicapped ramps, respectively.
Ord. 2012–92 was discussed for about 30 minutes by Council. It amends section 1149.03 by adding tattoo and body piercing services as a conditional use item in the General Commercial (GC) District. The exact wording in the legislation was: “(g) Tattoo and body piercing services (excluding ears) subject to the requirements of Chapter 1183 of the Ordinance.”
City Building Inspector Matt Ross explained that such establishments are currently allowed to set up in the city. Theoretically, they are treated as a conditional use and the Planning and Zoning Commission gives approval, but tattoo and body piercing does not meet any criteria for conditional use.
The legislation would enact policy on where and in what capacity an establishment could locate. According to Chapter 1183, if such a business wanted to open in Galion, it could not locate within 1,500 feet of any residence or district where residences are a permitted use; school, library or teaching facility attended by persons under 18 years of age; a park or recreational facility attended by persons under 18 years of age; or a church, synagogue, or permanently established place of religious services attended by persons under 18 years of age.
(There seemed to be some confusion amongst some citizens because of the mention of adult entertainment facilities during the discussion. 1183 was originally set up as provisions for adult entertainment facilities to limit where they could operate. Tattoo and body piercing establishments were simply being subjected to the same provisions.)
Council member Cathy George commented that the requirement was intended to protect the places where that type of business should not go.
Council member Tom Fellner, who is also chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, said that, although the legislation was limiting where the business could locate, it would not hinder it from opening. According to him, it would actually make the zoning process easier for the business than what is currently allowed. As discussion continued, Fellner displayed a tattoo on his right shoulder.
Ross called the legislation a “conservative approach” and recommended that, if the community was against it, that the Chapter 1183 requirement should be removed.
Citizen Kate Strickler asked Council to remove the last sentence of the amendment because it limits businesses from opening.
The Planning and Zoning Commission previously sent its recommendation to Council to include the requirement. Bob Cerar, chairman of the Commission, emphasized that the Commission was NOT biased against tattoo parlors. He explained that the reasoning for the recommendation was because in 2011, when a particular business filed for zoning, some of the artwork it wanted to display on the storefront windows was “pornographic.”
Eventually George called for a vote on the legislation. Council passed the ordinance, with the 1183 restriction, unanimously.
For Ord. 2012–93, some restrictions on setbacks and lot coverage for residential handicap ramps were removed. Ross said he hopes the changes will make it easier for people to build ramps and expedite the permit process.
It passed unanimously. Because they were passed as second readings, both ordinances will go into effect in 30 days.
A public hearing was held that evening regarding the rezoning of three lots on Portland Way North, across from the Carter Drive intersection.
None of the property owners were present, but the citizen who filed the petition was. He was the only person to speak during the hearing and encouraged Council to vote in favor of the rezoning legislation, which was on the table later in the meeting.
Ord. 2012–97 was the rezoning legislation, which changed the classification from Residential Multiple Family to Residential Office. Fellner explained that there is a business interested in opening an office at one of the residences there.
All three lots needed to be rezoned because the original zoning has them in the same district, but the homeowners were contacted about the change. Fellner noted that it opens, not limits, the options of what the homes can be used for. The legislation passed.
Res. 2012–17 was an end of the year transfer of $5,000 in the Stormwater Fund to some accounts within the fund.
Res. 2012–18 reappointed Joe Kleinknecht as a representative to the Crawford County Regional Planning Commission. Res. 2012–19 appointed Brian Treisch and Phil Fox to Design Review District 1 (Uptowne). Res. 2012–20 reappointed Sharon Barnes to Design Review District 1, and Rick Maddox and Gary Riddle to District 2 (Historic West Main). Res. 2012–21 reappointed Wendy Kerr to the Galion Board of Health.
In committee updates, Finance Committee Chair Roberta Wade said she still has questions regarding the billing from American Municipal Power, which she said is complicated. After expressing her interest in contacting AMP so that a representative can speak to the committee and address questions, other Council members agreed. Wade said she would contact the company to set something up.
The Laws and Ordinances Committee was scheduled to have a meeting immediately following the Council meeting in order to continue discussion about internet cafe regulations. However, Fellner requested that it be cancelled, to await the outcome of related state legislation. Other committee members agreed.
For Planning, Zoning and Utilities, Fellner said there are two rezoning requests it needs to discuss, but further information is needed first. He also scheduled a public hearing for Jan. 22, during that evening’s Council meeting. The committee’s next meeting is Dec. 18 at 6:15 p.m.
Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Ken Bodkins said there was a meeting that day. Citizens are concerned about reserving baseball fields for 2013, so Bodkins instructed anyone who wants to use any of the fields in Galion to send letters/call him, Cathy George or Paul Flannery indicating which field and when it will be needed, preferably by the end of January.
“We don’t want to shut anyone out this year,” Bodkins said. “We need to share the fields.”
Council Clerk Michelle Talbott then read a letter from Columbia Gas of Ohio, dated Nov. 30. The letter read: “In 2012, Columbia Gas of Ohio has continued to invest in infrastructure replacement programs that benefit both our customers and your community. Also this year, Columbia has continued to make substantial investments in energy-efficiency programs that help our residential customers save money on their energy bills.”
The letter went on to indicate that in February of 2013, the company will apply through the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio “to set rates for its Infrastructure Replacement Program Rider (Rider IRP) and the Demand Side Management Rider (Rider DSM).” This will result in an increase in residential bills of $1.21 per month for the Rider IRP and 21.5 cents for Rider DSM.
In his comments, City Manager Gene Toy reminded everyone that the next City Council meeting was bumped up to Dec. 18 because of the holidays. He also announced that Fire Chief Phil Jackson was in Pennsylvania that evening to pick up the city’s new fire truck that was recently purchased.
During a recent Ohio Public Works Commission meeting, he received noticed that Galion will received about $1.17 million for three upcoming projects.
In citizen comments, Paula Durbin asked: “Are you [Council] going to sit down and decide salaries for the new statutory government or are you going to put it in committee? What is you status on that at this point in time?”
Durbin was referring to the positions for the change in government that Galion voters passed in November. As of right now, it goes into effect June 1, 2013 following the May primary election.
Wade felt the issue should be put into a committee. Fellner agreed, saying the committee should include community members as well. There was then a concensus that Council would make an official decision on how to proceed during the next meeting.
Kit Walder also spoke. He was opposed to the proposed rezoning of the former high school property, saying it is “not the best use of that area.” Walder said it could lead to decreased property values, an increase in noise and traffic and added stress to public utilities. He asked Council to take that into consideration before making any decisions.
Galion City Council’s next meeting is Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building.