A safety issue was the chief reason Covenant Harbor manager Sue Perrin said she visited Oak Harbor Village Council on Monday.
Since the village opened parking on the north end of Veterans Park for the flag football league, parking issues have posed serious problems for nearby Covenant Harbor, a senior living community on Finke Road, Perrin told council. Game spectators have been parking along the apartment complex driveway and on the grass.
“It’s not that we don’t want them there but it can present a problem,” Perrin said diplomatically.
The biggest single issue is that of safety, she said. Fire trucks and EMS vehicles will have a tough time entering the property because of these vehicles. Fire department officials have come on site with a truck to simulate and verify blocked access issues.
Grass ruts caused by the vehicles also create areas where water collects and could be cause for citations during Housing and Urban Development Department inspections.
Perrin said she alerted council now in hope that members could help alleviate the problem by spring.
Council agreed that it “was not really a parking issue but a walking issue.” That is, spectators were using the Covenant Harbor driveway so they do not have to walk as far to playing fields.
Football league officials have been made aware of the situation and have asked parents personally and via Face book page not to park on the apartment property. “It’s getting out to the parents but not the grandparents, aunts and uncles,” Mayor Bill Eberle said.
At present, the Covenant has only “no parking, private property signs” posted to warn off illegal parking.
Council members suggested the company take a hard line and create tow zones.
“Corporate doesn’t want to do that,” Perrin responded. They’d like Covenant staff to work out an amicable solution, she said.
“It might stop it,” Eberle suggested. “All you have to do is tow one vehicle.”
Council noted that the more immediate concern is there is still one game – the Super bowl – scheduled for this Saturday.
“Chief, anything we can do temporarily?” Eberle asked Police Chief Steve Weirich.
Weirich said he will have dayshift patrol the area during the game in attempt to stop the illegal parking. Perrin also suggested putting up the temporary signage used by the village during the Apple Festival.
“But some kind of (permanent) signage is going to have to be done,” Weirich said. He suggested a sign stating “Tenants and guests only.”
Perrin was one of two visitors who had requested to speak during the public segment of the meeting.
The other person, landlord Adam Snyder, came to lambast council over its handling of its property maintenance code. He called the village hypocritical in its actions.
Snyder gave background on what prompted his visit – a tenant who had received a letter from the village regarding possible penalties for not mowing grass in a timely manner according to the village property maintenance code.
The tenant, he said, “had trouble getting a lawnmower” but has since mowed the lawn.
But Snyder’s ire grew, he said, because “I feel the village doesn’t clean up its own backyard and then is too quick to judge.”
Snyder produced photos of the new 1.5-megawatt solar panel field erected in the last year on seven acres of village land in a partnership with Columbus-based Solar Planet. The solar panel field is obscured by high vegatation.
The administrator complains about high grass on his property; yet, you can’t even see the solar panels, Snyder said.
Mayor Bill Eberle said Solar Planet is responsible for maintenance inside the fence. A private contractor services the property for the company and they have been having standing water issues, he added.
“I know it looks bad back there, it’s a reclamation area,” the mayor said.
Snyder asked what the mayor meant. Eberle explained that brush and broken concrete from village projects also collect in the adjacent area.
“It will never look like a park but I agree with you,” Eberle told Snyder.
Councilwoman Donna Wendt asked why it took so long for something to be done.
“I don’t know,” the mayor replied. “I have been in contact with them and they have been stalling me.”