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City Council Workshop 4/13/2021

We had an early start at 6:45 to interview candidates for AHRB. Next week will start early as well to interview the remainder of those who applied – thank you to all who applied, and those working on boards and commissions currently.

The workshop was fairly short. One small topic of discussion I brought forward was raised by a resident and had to deal with fallen trees/branches in our parks. Most people think the parks look amazing, and they do. Some areas of the wooded parks have built up fallen trees and look a bit unsightly. The resident had asked about our park clearing practices, and how one might report problems to the city particularly related to overhanging trees or branches that have recently fallen or are ready to fall and could cause harm. Ideally, use the mobile app Engage Hudson. By logging a concern within the app, you start a service ticket that will be looked at and responded to by city staff. That includes areas within our parks. If the issue is being handled according to policy, you will hear that. If it is a broken or overhanging tree that needs to be dealt with, you will assist in expediting that concern to staff.

A piece of legislation was brought forward by Councilwoman Kowalski capping commissions chargeable by Third-Party Food Delivery Service Businesses During States of Public Health Emergencies.

Hal DeSaussure started the discussion with a concern about government intervention in business operations. We do not want to be in the business of mandating your business model. Free market economies should not be restricted in this way.

Skylar Sutton added that other communities have found a way of dealing with this by engaging with charitable organizations who have taken over some delivery for restaurants as a means to both raise funds for their charities and additionally protect restaurants from any fee’s associated with delivery at all. It is almost as though they are giving back to the restaurants that have supported so many charities over the years.

I echoed Hal’s concerns about why a government would get involved in this kind of legislation but there are more reasons the pass on this kind of legislation that has been passed in metropolitan areas but is less popular in suburban communities such as Dublin and Hilliard who recently passed on this idea.

Many Hudson restaurants already have agreements with these services that reduce the commissions to delivery services to between 15% and 22%. Many of those same restaurants have increased pricing to accommodate the fee taken by the delivery companies, and obviously that higher cost is passed on to the consumer, recognizing that the higher cost is for the convenience of the delivery service. The net-net to the restaurant is very close (or the same) as dining in-house. Some restaurants have waived off the delivery model entirely as it does not fit their business model or cuisine type appropriately.

In metropolitan areas delivery can often be accomplished 2 or 3 orders at a time due to higher population density in a smaller area. Lower fee structures can still be a viable business model if you can deliver more in less time. In suburban communities like Hudson (and Dublin) drivers are unlikely to deliver several meals to different families on the same trip. If families in Chads Ford and Village West both want meals from the same restaurant, its probably going to be 2 separate trips or one family will have a cold meal.

It did not appear that this idea had been thoroughly discussed with the businesses it would impact: Hudson restaurants. Many of which have already worked out a way of maintaining their profit levels in this new paradigm. Discussing it with those businesses is vital to understanding all of the business variables before a law changes the playing field.

Beth Bigham and Bill Wooldredge went on to affirm that council had no desire to regulate businesses in a free market economy. This item has been removed from legislative discussion.

Consent Agenda review

Most items were unremarkable. I am still curious about why Electric Fund revenues were 1.7% higher than expected (+$376,072 of budget) and expenses are -$186,404 below budget (stated as Purchase of power $126,000 below estimate). I will ask our finance manager today why that is the case. The reason Velocity appears to be performing so well is found in the notes section “Various operating costs not yet expensed”. All in all, the city financials appear healthy with increased income tax revenue from business gains over the past few years.

A number of connectivity projects are going to move forward.

1) Herrick, Garden Lane to the Twinsburg Twp Line, SR91 north of Norton to Corp drive, SR303 Nicholson to W. Case.

Many of these are the very beginning of the process – asking for design & engineering. Each has its own schedule – some to be built this year, others in 2022 to 2023.

Legislative Review

The Park Board master plan will be on second reading next week. We still receive correspondence about the location (or existence) or a dog park in the plan, which has yet been approved.

There is a special Public Meeting of the Park Board Monday the 19th at 7pm to address the dog park. The agenda is linked below

Resident Input -The public is encouraged to email comments related to agenda items or general communication to by 4:30 p.m. on the meeting date. Emails will be recorded and filed with the meeting minutes. Please identify the agenda item as the subject of your email.

We have two legislative items that are to merge the items voted on by residents during the last general election into our charter.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTERS 1202, “ADMINISTRATIVE AND REVIEW ROLES,” 1204, “GENERAL REVIEW STANDARDS”, 1205, “ZONING DISTRICTS-CITY OF HUDSON ZONING MAP”, AND 1207, “ZONING DEVELOPMENT AND SITE PLAN STANDARDS,” OF THE LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE TO IMPLEMENT CERTAIN AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF HUDSON ADOPTED IN 2020. Brief Description :Pursuant to Charter amendments approved by voters in November 2020, the proposed Land Development Code amendments would revise relevant text of the composition and terms of the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning and Building Appeals, and the Architectural and Historic Board of Review and remove regulations which allow the development of land with a maximum net density to increase without changing the text of the regulation or the zoning map.

The second item has more to do with language than substance – but if you want to look through it, the reference is below.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CODIFIED ORDINANCE SECTIONS 220.03, 220.08, 222.03, 276.01, 284.01, 284.02, 286.02, AND 288.02 TO IMPLEMENT CERTAIN AMENDMENTS TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF HUDSON. Brief Description: This Ordinance includes proposed amendments to the Codified Ordinances reflecting Charter amendments approved by voters. It does not include proposed amendments pursuant to Charter language related to the City’s Planning and Zoning Code (Land Development Code), as these are addressed in a separate Ordinance.

That’s it. Questions or concerns, please let me know. -Chris

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