My notes from last night's council meeting are posted below:
A couple dozen residents attended the meeting to express dissatisfaction with the proposals to rezone the former Brandon Heating and Cooling Building and to allow crematories in funeral homes. I have to tell you, the hardest votes I've had so far have been relating to zoning. There are no clear answers, no clear "right" and "wrong." Council is pressed between property rights of residents and property rights and prospective profits of businesses.
My views on the crematory issue are changing as I have heard from more of the residents. Initially, it was my impression that residents were OK with it, because no one spoke out at the Planning Committee meeting. It turns out, however, the residents were never notified. Only through my web site did some folks learn about the crematory proposal. Hearing these residents express their legitimate concerns has me leaning toward believing that allowing crematories in a residential area is probably not in the best interests of the city as a whole.
As you know, . Two power lines went down behind our safety building, starting a grass fire. . I want to give special praise to our dispatchers, police and reserve police for stepping up and making intersections safe and addressing residents' other concerns. They did a real bang-up job.
Fear not, Stow. Kent Road will be ready for . I hope to see everyone out there. It's definitely a fun time. I might also be in thethat morning.
We approved a request to construct a new McDonald's on Kent Road, next to Chipotle. Jim Costello and I inserted an amendment this week to require that the old franchise (on Kent Road, east of Fishcreek) be torn down, so that it is shovel-ready for the next commercial development. We don't need any more vacant buildings. That's for sure.
Brian Lowdermilk suggested that my Roads and Safety Committee pass legislation to prohibit the use of engine brakes on semi-trailers within the city. . I proposed limiting the legislation to only Fishcreek. My amendment and the amended legislation both passed unanimously.
The administration proposed a new fee on utility lines. It passed 4-3 (with Lowdermilk, Matt Riehl and I voting "no"). Raising fees and taxes should not be on the menu.
Mayor Drew offered legislation to reorganize the engineering department. The legislation eliminated two positions and gave one position a two-step pay increase. I offered an amendment to strike the pay increase out of the legislation. The amendment passed 4-3 (Riehl, Lowdermilk, D'Antonio and me). The amended legislation passed 4-3. This morning, Mayor Drew notified council that she would be vetoing the entire legislation because of my amendment. She also plans to re-introduce the part of the legislation that did pass. While the power to veto is solely the mayor's prerogative, I don't see a purpose to that action. The bottom line is, we are still in a budget crisis, and I won't support raises with the people's money at this time.
City council will meet next on July 9 for committees. I hope to see a great crowd at the parade.