Fairfield County Sheriff's Sgt. Kirk C. Kern presented Canal Winchester City Council with a draft proposal Aug. 29 for a juvenile diversion program aimed at keeping young offenders out of the county court system.

Fairfield County Sheriff's Sgt. Kirk C. Kern presented Canal Winchester City Council with a draft proposal Aug. 29 for a juvenile diversion program aimed at keeping young offenders out of the county court system.

Implementation of a juvenile diversion program was the focus at the

"Basically, we've had discussions in staff meetings due to some of the issues that have come up locally, especially recently at the skate park," Kern said. "Instead of sending them to county (detention), if both the parents and the juvenile agree, then we can take them through mayor's court here and have them complete a diversion program."

Kern is working on the diversion program with city law director Jennifer Croghan and clerk of courts Sarah Brandon. The draft document he provided to council Monday outlines several consequences for juveniles who are arrested in Canal Winchester, including writing essays, formal apologies, community service, restitution, research projects, orders to stay away from certain facilities and various alcohol-, drug- and theft-related programs.

"Officers who make the arrest for a misdemeanor crime would have discretion as to whether or not to deal with the juvenile here or at county," Kern said. "This is really directed at those kids who just made a mistake. We want to give them a chance to avoid a criminal record that might hurt them in the future."

Croghan said the program is being modeled after a diversion program in the city of Powell. She noted that many suburbs have similar programs. According to city financial director, Nanisa Osborn, Brandon is finalizing the paperwork, which will then be given three readings by council prior to adoption.

In other business Monday, council heard about a potential change to the zoning code regarding public notifications. It would require the city to notify residents by certified mail only when the city is proposing a rezoning that includes 10 or fewer properties.

Osborn said notifications about zoning cases involving more than 10 properties would be sent by regular mail.

"The Ohio Revised Code is the basis for the number of 10 properties," she said. "We will still publish notification in the newspaper. For larger zoning cases, we'll mail notification via regular mail.

"Unfortunately, when you have a large zoning case, with hundreds of people to notify, certified mail is very costly," she said.

According to information presented Monday, the first notification for a public hearing by the planning and zoning commission will be mailed 10 days ahead of the meeting. If the proposed rezoning then moves on to city council, a second notification will be mailed 20 days prior to that meeting.

Public notices are also posted at Town Hall, 10 N. High St., and on the city's website, according to Osborn.

Bruce Jarvis, executive director of Destination Canal Winchester, provided council with an overview of the organization's new citywide mission, which has expanded beyond the downtown focus of what used to be Main Street Canal Winchester.

"(Main Street Canal Winchester) got started in 1998 and we believe this is a healthy next evolution of that," Jarvis said.

According to Osborn, council will need to approve legislation to adjust sections of the code that deal with the city's convention and visitors bureau to allow Destination Canal Winchester to receive support from the city.

"We'll draft that legislation and make the adjustments needed," she said.

The next city council meeting will be at 7 p.m., Sept. 6, at Town Hall.