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City Council Workshop 12/8/2020 and Short Term Rental Discussion

We started at 6pm again tonight for Environmental Awareness Committee interviews. We have more next week so look for the appointments to occur in our last scheduled meeting of the year (12/15/2020).

Council Comments:

Skylar Sutton thanked the Sorgi family and American Fireworks for the display over the weekend. We have not had a lot of things to smile about in 2020 and this made a difference in the mood of people downtown. He also mentioned disappointment in an article that appeared over the weekend linked below Several of us echoed our disappointment in this article. It stated that council had, without discussion, tabled an ordinance that would have put a six month moratorium on short-term rentals. If the writer understood Roberts Rules of Order, discussion on an item can only take place when the item is up for a vote to pass or fail the motion. This meeting was a workshop, which is where discussion can occur. And we had a lot of it. Reviewed later in this summary.

Bill Wooldredge brought up mailbox reimbursement as we get into winter. I posted on this topic on December 2nd on my councilman page and included a link to the city policy and reimbursement methods. Nicole Kowalski thanked City Staff for the various meetings she had over the past week to familiarize her with staff, process, and particulars of being on council.

Mayor Shubert brought up the most important point of discussion I believe – memorializing Vincent Baran, the 7 year old young man who tragically lost his life recently in downtown. Suggestions were made to possibly add a tagline to Morningsong Lane, where his family lives, Vincent Baran Memorial Way – or memorialize him in a park in a meaningful way. Bill Wooldredge suggested the Mayor connect with the Baran’s church and come up with suggestions the family might prefer.

On a final note, a resident asked why independent contractors were plowing River Oaks rather than Public Works vehicles. The City Manager explained that the large plows used by Public Works cannot operate on dead ends or cul-de-sacs, of which River Oaks has many.

Items we reviewed tonight include:

1: receipt of our November financial statement. There was no presentation on this tonight. There will be one at the next council meeting.

2: An ordinance to make appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures during fiscal year end December 2020 and amending for appropriations related to fourth quarter 2020.

3: A resolution to authorize the city manager to advertise, receive bids, and award contracts for capital items, services, equipment, materials and supplies for Public Works operations included in the 2021 Annual Budget. Details located at the link below Skylar Sutton stated he would like to see detail on the energy savings on the 5 police vehicles in this contract. Additionally, several councilmembers expressed some concern about police vehicle coloration and asked if we could speak to the chief and reevaluate our color scheme. Currently they are stealthy in appearance. A desire to be more visible was expressed by a couple members.

4: An annual resolution requesting permission to allow the Public Works Department to make purchases of equipment, materials, supplies and services in the operational area of the municipal utilities and Velocity Broadband service operation that will exceed $25,000 based on the 2021 approved budget. I suggested separating HPP and VBB expenses lumped as $100,000 under Fiber Optic/Broadband Supplies, Materials, and Service Equipment. They are 2 separate budgets and HPP doesn’t use Fiber Optic for their own purposes. Additionally the capital fund for VBB only has about $56,000 unencumbered by service contracts. As the $100,000 exceeds this amount, it would need to be divided between the Capital fund (402) and the Enterprise Fund (510). The enterprise fund does has enough to cover the gap ($250k balance give or take unencumbered if range if memory serves).

5: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is awarding Assistance to Firefighters Covid-19 Supplemental funding for the purpose of providing assistance to fire and emergency medical services for the purchase of Covid-related personal protective equipment and supplies. The City could receive $12,034.60 in grant funding for the purchase of Covid-19 related personal protective equipment and supplies to create a stockpile for future response. A $1,203.46 match is required.

6: Then and Now certificates (when the city manager seeks approval after the fact) - Council authorization is required for payment of the invoices shown on this Resolution, each in excess of $3,000, for which commitments were made before Purchase Orders were generated. The items in question are for A: Ohio Turnpike Commission: 10-year permit fee, engineering, $3,025.00 B: Vizmeg Landscape: Public properties & right of way mowing, $5,481.00

7: The City has been working on widening Rt 91 between Stoney Hill and Barlow. Charter requires Council submit safety improvement projects to the Planning Commission for report and recommendation. The 91 turn lane project heading north out of town was not sent to Planning Commission because only some turn lanes were added, and it did not widen the street along the entire length. This project represents a complete widening along with bike lanes and sidewalks. Just an oddity of how state law works. The map of the changes is located below

Proposed Legislation

20-145: We discussed the moratorium on the operation of any short term rentals in the city of Hudson. See below for discussion on the topic.

20-152: The never ending Library levy will have gone through three readings (three readings of three different pieces) next week. Its just the process that needs to be undertaken to allow it to be placed on the ballot. Normally this would only occur every five years. But – Covid-19 has changed so many plans.

20-160: Discussion on an Ordinance enacting a new chapter 876 “short term rental operations” of the business regulation code; and declaring an emergency.

This is the legislation as currently listed.

Our discussion on this matter lasted most of the meeting. Every member contributed to this in some way, though Skylar Sutton and Hal DeSaussure dug into the legislation deep and drove much of the issues at hand.

As it now stands this legislation would be a Business Regulation, which is all handled administratively and does not have a means for public notice or approvals. Nor does an appeal process go to a board or commission, appeals would be with the City Manager alone. The entire element of public notice and discussion is missed by Business Regulations. Were this driven entirely through the Land Development Code it would allow a home to be zoned or changed into a business… which on its own also becomes problematic.

In the end it sounds as though council agreed that a blended approach was needed. That blended approach would require applications and appeals to be handled through BZBA, which has a public notice and comment element. Additionally it would require administrative permits, which would be non-transferable from one owner to the next. Thus one “bad actor” could not buy a home elsewhere in town that had a permit and take that permit and use over. They would need to personally re-apply. Using this blended approach, homeowners in the area of a short term rental could express concern at the application stage. If the owner runs a problematic rental, the administrative permit could be pulled.

It is important to note that most of us felt generally against a moratorium. Generally, negatively on the subject because rentals may have already been established by family members for holidays. The legislation (the business regulation section) is backwards looking, which means if there is an incident today or next week that gets out of control, a permit application in February could be denied based on what occurs today. I expect the 20-145 moratorium to be taken off our legislative agenda in the coming weeks as we move forward to refine a blended 20-160 concept.

Item TMP-5234 is being received by Council from the Planning Commission. Planning commission items are treated differently than others because they involve third party stake holders who may have an interest in a zoning change. Because of the third party nature, council will withhold judgement on the item until it requires dialogue. Because of this, residents can assume council may feel positively or negatively, depending on their own desires, about the issue… but council does not have the legal leeway to comment prior to votes. Or rather to say, it is ill-advised because of potential legal consequences. The description: Consideration of proposed (1) Zoning Map Amendment to revise parcels 3001315 and 3001316 from the current District 8 Industrial/Business Park to the proposed Hike Bike (HB) Senior Housing Overlay Zoning District 8; and (2) a Land Development Code Text Amendment to amend the purpose statement of Section 1205.11(f) the Hike Bike (HB) Senior Housing Overlay Zoning District 8.

Notice of Public hearing to be held January 5th, 2021.

Lastly Tmp-5232 is the first reading to renew the very popular DORA (designated Outdoor Refreshment Area). It is scheduled for a first reading December 15th. One detail to note – hours in the DORA have changed to start 1 hour earlier (to allow for a Bellini / mimosa for a Sunday brunch) and 1 hour later than initially established. 11am to 10pm.

Questions or concerns, please contact me at

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