In a regularly scheduled public meeting of the Liberty Township Board of Trustees Monday, trustees approved the rezoning of a nearly 50-acre parcel for three homes, scheduled two public hearings for the rezoning of parcels “to permit the development of 78 condominium townhomes” and “the development of 125 single-family residences,” and tabled two purchase orders payable to separate law firms for $20,000 each along with the fiscal officer’s 2020 resource estimate.
Trustees Michael Gemperline and Shyra Eichhorn were in attendance for the first regularly scheduled meeting since Oct. 21, while Trustee Melanie Leneghan was unable to attend due to a prior family engagement.
In their first order of business, the two trustees approved the scheduling of two public hearings at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 to consider the rezoning of parcels to permit the development of 78 condominium townhomes and 125 single-family residences to be known as Hyatts Meadows. The request was submitted by David Fisher on behalf of multiple property owners.
However, in a slight twist, the trustees did hold a public hearing Monday to rezone a 49.9-acre parcel from a Planned Residence District to Farm Residence District in order to permit the development of up to three single-family residences.
Steven Martin, the representative for David and Brenda Frecka who submitted the rezoning request, told the trustees that they were basically down zoning to put three houses on the almost 50 acres.
The recent history in the township has been to rezone parcels for the future development of homes, commercial businesses and industry.
“This is a little unusual for us,” Eichhorn said. “We don’t get these types of requests too often.”
The trustees approved the rezoning back to Farm Residential to allow for the three new homes to be built.
Acting as the board’s chair in the absence of Leneghan, Gemperline moved to accept the 2019 purchase orders and blanket certificates, except Eichhorn decided she couldn’t second the motion.
“I’m not comfortable seconding that,” she said. “The Remmiger (Company, LPA) is still at $20,000, and I know that we’re at $6,000. I’m still not comfortable with that, and the Zashin and Rich (Company, LPA), I don’t believe we’ve gone through all the money already and there’s another resolution on here for an additional $20,000.
“I know that we’ve done (this) before, but I’m not comfortable passing (it),” she added.
Eichhorn said she was willing to second the resolution if the $20,000 payments for each of the law firms were removed from the list.
“I have a comment,” Fiscal Officer Nancy Denutte said. “It is a requirement for me as a fiscal officer when a resolution is passed the purchase order has to be done immediately. Just so you know, it doesn’t have an affect on me if you don’t sign it. I’ve got proof that I did it if you don’t sign it.”
“It’s all on you (the board),” she added.
Moving forward, the trustees amended the resolution minus the two $20,000 payments to the law firms and approved the new version.
However, the third resolution for the trustees to consider during the meeting was for the payment of $20,000 to Zashin and Rich Company for “specific expertise to assist with arbitration, union issues, and human resources.” Eichhorn again would not second Gemperline’s motion for approval. The resolution was tabled.
In December 2018, the township and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3754 (IAFF 3754) participated in an arbitration hearing regarding the firefighter’s holiday pay. In the agreement, the township and IAFF 3754 split the cost of the labor arbitrator.
The two trustees approved the fourth resolution authorizing the payment of $3,625 to Charles Kohler Esquire, of Westerville, for arbitration services.
After the meeting, Eichhorn said she wasn’t against paying the attorney fees, but she wasn’t going to approve an additional $20,000 without more information on what has been paid out so far.
“Before the meeting, Cathy (Buehrer, human resources manager) and Mike (Schuiling, township administrator) couldn’t tell me where we’re at on legal bills,” she said. “It’s been like an open checkbook.”
When it came time to approve the fiscal officer’s 2020 resource estimate and permanent appropriations, Eichhorn asked Denutte if the measure had to be approved during the meeting or could it wait, because she didn’t receive it until late that afternoon.
“Nancy, this just has to be done by the end of the year, correct?” she asked.
Denutte said that it had to be “done before the first of the year.”
Eichhorn assured Denutte that there were three meetings left before the end of the year and that at least two trustees would be in attendance at all three.
“Since there is no rush to do it today, I would like to take some time to look at it,” Eichhorn said.
The trustees tabled the resolution until the next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in the township hall located at 7761 Liberty Road, Powell. The last meeting of the current board is Dec. 16.
In other business, the board:
• Authorized an expenditure for Emergency Reporting, a program used by the fire department to record and manage all fire department operations.
• Authorized an expenditure for the firefighter’s annual physicals from Mount Carmel Occupational Health not to exceed $30,000.
• Amended a resolution authorizing Decker Construction for ADA (American Disabilities Act) curb ramp improvements as part of the township’s 2019 paving program.
• Accepted the resignation of Parks and Roads service worker Daniel Kuebler.
• Approved the hiring of Cole Van Riper as a part-time Parks and Roads employee at $11 per hour.
• Authorized an amendment to the recreational Trail Grant Agreement between the Delaware County Board of Commissioners, the township, and the city of Delaware.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.