Changes looming in?All-American Town

BELLAIRE – This week’s village council meeting has the potential to bring about fairly big changes.

They could have come during the previous meeting, if not for a few issues.

First, at the beginning of the meeting, two absent council members meant the remainder lacked enough to form a majority.

Without that, the rule requiring three separate readings could not be suspended.

An additional council member was called and a few important resolutions were passed, including two that dealt with a grant application deadline the following day.

The second stumbling block was that, because of the holiday, Solicitor Joe Vavra had gotten copies of a number of ordinances into the hands of council just that morning.

Despite discussing the various issues during the ordinance committee meetings, few had the opportunity to examine the final product.

Here’s a quick look at what was discussed and what will be on the agenda come Thursday’s meeting at 6 p.m. inside council chambers.

Ordinance 2013-14

An ordinance seeking to updates previous legislation dealing with demolition permits and permit fees. Permit fees will be $35 per structure, plus 20 cents per each 100 feet of floor surface. That surface area will be based off the property’s report from the Belmont County Auditor’s Office.

Previously, the fees structure wasn’t based on the auditor’s website.

Ordinance 2013-15

This ordinance deals with commercial trailers greater than 12-feet in length within the village, both on private and public areas and authorized property.

The initial reading of the ordinance necessitated that these trailers must be inspected and deemed to be road worthy, with the ability to be moved at any notice.

They cannot be deemed a nuisance for unsightliness. Any trailer parked greater than 15 calendar days must be permitted for the entire month. Less than 15 days and the minimum seven-day permit must be purchased. All trailers would be issued a decal for payment. The cost was listed as $200 per month. Any penalties for removal, including removal cost, would be at the owner’s expense.

One issue raised was with the language of the ordinance. Code Administrator Bill Swoyer, after being asked by Councilman Jerry Fisher, explained that the ordinance is targeting the commercial box trailers. However, the wording of the ordinance was vague, leaving it open to interpretation.

Fisher, who has repeatedly expressed his distaste for the number of trailers being set up around town, noted that this ordinance amounted to accepting the presence of the trailers and simply charging them to be in town.

He wants them gone, completely.

This ordinance too was held for a second reading, although the language will likely have to be changed.

Ordinance 2013-17

This ordinance would make it a requirement that, before alteration of any building, structure or drainage system, etc., an application and accompanying statement of specifications and costs must be submitted to the village.

A permit must be issued before the work begins. A copy of said plans will be retained by the village and a copy shall be kept at the work site during the entire progression of the work. The fees for a permit for building or alteration/repair of a building would be: Minimum fee of $10 for the first $1,000 of valuation of the proposed work. Then, additional rates would apply, depending on if the work was being done by a contractor or the home/property owner.

Ordinance 2013-18

Finally, this ordinance deals with making an update to the recently formulated employee handbook. The update deals with absenteeism and notification of said absences.

Absences of more than three consecutive days, and/or at the discretion of the mayor, would require obtaining a doctor’s release prior to returning to work.

Forms requesting time off must be filed out prior to all leaves, except for sick leave. Falsification of any documents will be grounds for immediate discharge, pending a disciplinary hearing.

All of the ordinances went on to a second reading.

Village Administrator Dan Marling told council he understood their reasoning and that they wanted to be more versed on the ordinances, but was also disappointed.

“It’s discouraging to the people in the trenches,” Marling said. “We’re trying to accomplish the task you charged us to do.”

Since having his job title changed to Village Administrator after council opted to do away with the Board of Public Affairs, Marling has set to task in shaping up the water, sanitation and street departments.

Swoyer, who was hired on in recent months as the village’s code administrator, has worked to revitalize the village’s code enforcement along with its inspection and coding processes.

These ordinances are designed to help both Marling and Swoyer better do their respective jobs, particularly Swoyer, as many of the pieces of legislation dealt within his area of operation.

They may or may not be passed this week. But there is certain to be further discussion as the village continues its efforts to move forward.

Hughes may be reached at