Hilliard Northwest News

City Council not rushing fire-lane law

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Hilliard City Council members have determined further discussion is warranted for an ordinance that would amend the city code concerning fire lanes.

President Brett Sciotto said the ordinance has the support of City Council, "but just needs a little more discussion."

During a second reading and public hearing for the ordinance Sept. 23, City Council members opted to refer the ordinance back to the Safety and Legal Affairs Committee.

The ordinance was introduced at the Aug. 26 committee meeting and received a first reading Sept. 9.

Bobby Fisher, deputy chief of the Hilliard police, said the ordinance was introduced to provide police with better means to cite motorists who park, stand or unload passengers in fire lanes.

The new legislation requires that fire lanes be marked with signs as opposed to only pavement striping.

The measure also targets practices at local school buildings.

The Hilliard school district announced police will issue warnings to motorists who block fire lanes at school buildings, and beginning Oct. 1, they will issue citations.

"At Hilliard City Schools we care about our community and their safety is our top priority. By partnering with our local government officials and first responders, we are enhancing our already strong safety practices for everyone who visits our schools," Superintendent John Marschhausen said in a press release announcing the effort.

However, Councilman Al Iosue said Sept. 23 he was concerned about a provision in the ordinance that made parking in fire lanes a higher offense only if the motorist cited had a prior moving or nonmoving traffic violation.

The offense is a minor misdemeanor, but if a driver had any ticket in the past 12 months, it would be a fourth-degree misdemeanor. With two prior tickets, it would become a third-degree misdemeanor.

"I would support it more (if) the original violation (were) a higher offense than to make it based on a prior ticket," Iosue said.

City Council members also voiced concern about provisions that would allow police to cite the owners of businesses where violations occur.

Prior to the City Council meeting, the Economic and Entrepreneurial Development Committee accepted an ordinance amending the borders of the Old Hilliard Community Reinvestment Area.

The ordinance amends a 2008 ordinance establishing the CRA by adding an additional parcel on the west side of Hilliard-Rome Road, just south of Heritage Club Drive.

The amendment will allow a tax abatement to be offered to the developer of a 5,000-square-foot office for Dejong Richter at 3225 Hilliard-Rome Road.

The Dublin-based company has 11 employees and is a facilities and planning consultant for public school districts.

At the City Planning, Projects and Services Committee, Service Director Butch Seidle provided members with the administration's preferences for a solid-waste disposal and recycling contract.

Iosue asked committee members to review the report and indicate its preferences by Oct. 7.

Council members and the administration will agree on what services are desired and Seidle then will prepare a contract and solicit bids. The city's current contract with Rumpke expires June 30, 2014.

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