This week at Athens City Council:
- Police chief to donate $500 to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.
- State approves of micro wireless legislation, City Council not so much.
- Round five: neighborhood parking permit proposal (OK, slow down) is back.
- Where can you donate to those affected by the Carriage Hill fire?
Police chief to donate $500 to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital.
Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller J. Blackburn is raising money to help OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital purchase a new colposcope, which is used for forensic examination after sexual assault. Ohio University Police Chief Andrew Powers requested that $500 be donated.
There have been five reports of rape in the last 28 days, four of which were reported in the same week.
State approves of micro wireless legislation, City Council not so much.
City Council bristled while discussing the latest legislation from the Ohio Statehouse. The bill, which will go into effect March 21, 2017, states it is Ohio’s public policy to “expedite the installation and operation of micro wireless facilities in order to facilitate the deployment of advanced wireless service throughout the state.”
City Council President Christine Knisely said she interpreted this legislation as companies being given permission to attach equipment on “poles or lights that are in the city right-of-way.”
Athens can charge a fee for submitting a micro-wireless technology request. The fee can be up to $250 or the amount commonly charged for a building permit. However, if the municipality does not grant or deny the request, consent is inferred.
“Unless we have legislation that is more (restrictive), more detailed, then this law will go into effect,” Knisely said.
According to Council, Title 43 may hold off the state’s legislation, as its language is detailed and restrictive concerning wireless technology within public right-of-way. However, the resilience of the city’s legislation will not be known until it is tested by the state’s legislation on March 21.
Round five: neighborhood parking permit proposal (OK, slow down) is back.
Joan Kraynanski, an Athens Board of Zoning Appeals member, brought forth a pilot project for a neighborhood parking pass program. This is the fifth attempt at starting the pilot project since 1995. The pilot project, according to Kraynanski, will affect permanent residents in the west and north sides of Athens where there is limited-to-no off-street parking.
“This proposal may not be perfect, nor is it the only solution,” she said. “However, it does offer a means to maintain residential use… The designated areas are compact enough to be easily enforced, and this pilot project will allow for revisions and updates.”
Kraynanski also implored that the co-inspection of an applicant’s address be dropped and included a petition, which has 31 signatures, supporting the proposal.
Furthermore, street parking currently has a 24-hour limit. Individuals who signed the petition additionally asked that the limit be pushed to 72 hours, which Council Member Michele Papai, D-3rd Ward, said will help with weekend trips. City Council Member Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward, however, said the limit should be completely removed and the pilot project should be tested for two years.
Mayor Steve Patterson, Clerk of Council Debbie Walker and Police Captain Ralph Harvey are hesitant to accept the proposal. The mayor and captain both request more information about details, such as when tickets will be given, when cars will be towed and what department will verify if someone has off-street parking.
Walker, however, was more concerned about the past four attempts, which all failed. She said the issue of long-term storage parking would return if the project is passed.
Overall, there were mixed opinions on the neighborhood parking pass pilot program (say that five times), and City Council will be taking more time with the local departments, mayor and clerk of council to mull over the project.
Mayor Patterson and City Council urges community to donate to those affected by the Carriage Hill fire.
The main donation location can be found at the fifth floor of Baker University Center.