Councilman Dave Gallaher asked council at a meeting on Sept. 27 to stop police from enforcing a law that prohibits residents from parking on the grass. Gallaher said police are spread too thin to be strictly enforcing the law.
Council agreed to send the matter to the Safety Committee for review.
Several residents came to a council meeting in August to complain that police had come to their homes to issue warnings against parking on the grass near the road.
The law, passed in 2004, states that parking is prohibited on private property unless it is on stone, asphalt or concrete.
“This whole thing about parking on the grass,” Gallaher said at the meeting, “I thought when people came in to complain about it, it was a done issue. But it appears it’s still on the books. We’re still getting complaints about it. I’d just like to see us adjust that in some way. I think our police officers have too much to do to spend time knocking on doors warning people about parking on the grass. We should change it because our police officers are far too busy to be bothered with that.”
Former Councilman Rick Radoci had asked Mayor Mark Stoner last year to step up enforcement of the law, Police Chief Tom Cairl had told The Press in August. “We’re seeing more people doing it. I don’t want to ticket people. What we’re trying to do is educate them by giving them a copy of the ordinance. What they’re doing is a violation of our ordinances and we try to get them to change their ways. If they don’t want the ordinance, they’re going to have to come to council and get council to change the ordinance. These people came and voiced their opinion. But I haven’t heard anything from council about looking at the ordinance again.”
Also at the meeting, council agreed to ask the Planning Commission to review its sign ordinance.
“As everyone knows, we have an issue about signs and the ability of people to put signs in their yards,” said Gallaher. He added that he had spoken to Kimberly Grames, the city’s planning, zoning and economic development coordinator, about enforcement of the ordinance.
“She had indicated that when she does get a complaint, if it’s a violation, she has to investigate,” said Gallaher. “Based on that, she then has to send letters, and after she sends the letters, she has to follow up to make sure they’re doing what they’re asked to do. As far as the yard signs go, I’m not sure that when this legislation was written, it was intended to keep people from putting small signs on private property. I’m guessing it was more for the city right of way and public property. I’m going to suggest that council send this to the Planning Commission and ask them to review this and make some changes. The kind of signs we’re talking about, the veterans appreciation day signs where we give special permission to let them go out, signs celebrating a son’s or daughter’s graduation from school, or it could be church signs for festivals - all types of signs. If you want to put a sign in your front yard to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or graduation or whatever, you really should be allowed to do that. I don’t think the original intent was to restrict that. But the way it’s written, that’s what’s happening. I’m hoping council will send that to planning to allow signs on private property. If the sign is in the right of way, then by all means we should have control over that for safety issues. But as far as personal property, I’d like to see them change that.”
Also at the meeting, council:
• Heard that an application was submitted to the Ohio Public Works Commission for a left turn lane on Wales at the intersection with East Broadway.
• Heard that the railroad overpass project is on schedule and is expected to be completed at the end of next year.