Trees, trash topics for council meeting


By Brandon Klein - bklein@aimmedianetwork.com



Dumpster service, litter removal and tree preservation regulations will be part of Delaware City Council’s discussion Monday night.

There will be two public hearings, one at 7:15 p.m. for legislation to allow multi-family properties to opt of the city’s dumpster service like other businesses and another at 7:20 p.m. to amend codified ordinance section 521.08 to allow the city to immediately remove trash improperly placed in the public right-of-way and create an appeal process for violators.

The city will also have a fifth reading for legislation to amend its tree preservation regulations.

Multi-family units are now required to use the city’s dumpster service unlike businesses. The city serves about 35 businesses, 82 multi-family developments and 16 city parks and facilities out of more than 2,500 businesses.

Council reduced commercial rates earlier this year and the city now collects trash from a 6-cubic-yard dumpster once a week for $121.80 per month, compared with the previous rate at $143.98 per month. But representatives of Hayes Colony apartments, 470 McKinley Lane, in Delaware, and Olentangy View Condominiums, 1241 Rivercrest Drive, have said they can find lower prices in the private sector.

City officials have said allowing multi-family units to opt out of the city’s service could create a cycle where the commercial base gets smaller as the service charges would increase to cover rigid overhead costs. It could bring into question whether the city should suspend its commercial service altogether.

Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware City Schools and the Delaware Community Center YMCA are among the city’s dumpster service customers.

With the proposed litter-related legislation, the city wants to speed up the process to remove refuse placed in the right-of-way in downtown and other areas of the community, according to a city-prepared fact sheet.

It said: “Current code does not prescribe a means to address the immediate removal of illegally deposited materials within the public right of way. Proposed changes to the code will allow for the city manager to make such determination and cause such refuse to be collected and disposed of in a timely basis. Current code also is absent of an appeal process for individuals or entities served a notice of violation.”

Violations would be appealed to the Public Works and Utilities Committee.

Council also may conclude its consideration of updates to the tree preservation regulations. The purpose of changes were to improve the clarity of tree replacement options for developers and how tree bank funds can be spent.

Developers have the option to plant removed trees or pay in lieu to the fund based on caliper inches, or the diameter of the tree at breast height.

The Building Industry Association of Central Ohio expressed concerns with the changes, particularly with codifying the replacement fee at no less than $100 per inch. The fee used to be $250 per tree in the early 2000s.

In a memo to City Manager Tom Homan, the planning director provided a comparison of the fee.

“At our standard minimum required tree of 1.75 caliper inches, this equates to a single tree replacement being effectively $175 for a minimally qualifying tree,” said Dave Efland.

“Today — and even when this subject was studied in about 2009 — to purchase, transport, and plant a tree of minimally qualifying size and variety costs on average about $250 or about $143 per caliper inch if put into those terms. This means that the city is effectively allowing a payment in lieu of planting to be slightly under the cost for a single tree, on average, using a straight calculation method.”

Efland proposed a two-part process with the first for Council to consider and decide upon the updates to the preservation regulations as submitted and the second for Council to determine if subsequent full review of the tree preservation chapter is needed.

“Should City Council desire to remove the sentence in 1168.07(a)(3) as proposed, ‘At no time shall the fee be less than $100 per caliper inch of required replacement,’ we are amenable to that,” Efland said. “The caliper-inch fee should, however, be placed within our newly updated and consolidated fee schedule at the next annual review to ensure the fee is contained appropriately within our ordinances and can be annually reviewed thereafter.”

For other agenda items, Council will:

• Consider a resolution to approve a naming and dedication policy for the city’s parks and facilities. There is some interest in renaming East Side Park after a late police officer, who spearheaded the park’s creation.

• Consider legislation to budget $14,000 to extend the Springfield Branch Trail beyond the David and Ross streets intersection by about 670 feet to Todd Street. The supplement is equal to amount developers paid for Howald Industrial Park, according to a city-prepared fact sheet. The project would be completed this summer.

• Consider legislation to budget $106,000 combined from the general bond retirement, water and sewer bond funds to the professional services fund to pay $137,140 in bond issuance costs and fees. The city issued debt to construct fire substation 304 and to refinance outstanding debt previously issued in 2006.

The task was originally planned for last year but market interest rates increased after the presidential election. The costs will be paid back along with the principal amount and interest charges over the next 15 years.

Council will meet at City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St., 7 p.m. in council chambers.

By Brandon Klein

bklein@aimmedianetwork.com

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

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