Also: Council considers limiting time for public comment; a pair of traffic signals to be removed

Newark City Council's service committee has asked the administration to write deer-hunting legislation for them to review.

Council members earlier this month determined that deer are overpopulated in the city and that the city might need to allow hunting within city limits.

During Monday's service committee meeting, Newark Mayor Bob Diebold said he reviewed Gahanna's laws on hunting within city limits and he believes Newark should copy those.

Diebold asked council members if they want deer to be considered a nuisance, which could change regulations on hunting.

Newark law director Douglas Sassen said the city could not increase the amount of time to hunt by declaring the animals a nuisance. He said the city still would have to abide by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' definition of a nuisance. Sassen said individual property owners could ask for nuisance permits to hunt off season.

City safety director Roger Stollard said bow-hunting season already has begun and runs through the end of January.

Councilman Don Ellington said the city could get a hunting program in place this year if legislation is passed. He said he thinks that could be good for the city.

Newark City Council could limit time for public comment
Newark City Council's rules committee started discussion Monday about limiting the time a resident may speak during council meetings.

Councilwoman Irene Kennedy said council president Bruce Bain initiated the discussion. She said council members are limited to speaking twice during a debate and may speak for only three minutes each.

City law director Douglas Sassen said because council currently has no restrictions on public speakers, council would follow the Roberts Rules of Order and allow the council president to restrict public speakers. If the council president limits a speaker and council does not agree, council collectively could challenge the meeting chair and allow the person to keep talking. Sassen said that, in effect, already could limit the time people speak.

Councilman John Uible said members don't want to discourage residents from talking but that three to five minutes is enough time.

Several residents who regularly speak during council meetings spoke against setting limits.

Resident Lesa Best said people should be able to talk for a half hour if they want and should be able to say anything to council.

Committee chair Carol Floyd said she would review information from Sassen on what other cities do and talk to Bain before the committee discusses the issue again.

Some traffic signals in Newark to be removed
Newark City Council recently received a study of two intersections and determined that at least two traffic signals in the city could be removed.

Service director Kathleen Barch showed the study to Newark City Council's capital-improvements committee Sept. 28. The study was completed by Jobes Henderson & Associates and states the signal at 21st Street and Camp Alley and the signal at Cedar and Clarendon streets do not meet the warrants for traffic signals.

The report also makes suggestions for improving sight lines in the area by removing a tree in the right of way on the east side of 21st Street at the intersection and suggests that the city work with Newark City Schools to reroute students to an intersection with a traffic signal when McGuffey Elementary School reopens in fall 2011.