Olentangy Valley News

Liberty Twp. passes public participation regulations

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Liberty Township trustees on Monday approved new guidelines for citizen participation during trustee meetings.

Trustee Curt Sybert has said such guidelines are needed to prevent discussions between trustees and audience members from erupting into shouting matches.

After a meeting in April that lasted more than four hours, trustees Peggy Guzzo and Robert Mann agreed to review participation guidelines, providing they were not overly restrictive.

The rules cover public participation at meetings and at hearings. The guidelines in both instances require people addressing the board to sign a roster and state their names and addresses.

Individual speakers are limited to five minutes, unless the trustee chairman grants more time. The overall public participation period at meetings is limited to 30 minutes for items not on the trustees' agenda. For comments regarding issues that are on the agenda, public participation is limited to 15 minutes.

At public hearings, required for some zoning issues, the person seeking the zoning change or variance may make a presentation to the board not exceeding 20 minutes. People opposing the issue may have 20 minutes, but they are asked to have a spokesperson address their concerns. Otherwise, individuals get five minutes each to comment.

Trustees also:

• Heard from resident and former trustee John Schuette, who said Liberty Township should stop using Powell for building inspections and permits.

He said the township should use the services of the Delaware County Building Department, because using Powell's services tips the city off about new commercial properties that the city can approach for annexation.

• Approved a two-month deadline extension for obtaining a zoning permit for a proposed Kroger in Golf Village North. Township zoning inspector Holly Foust later said the permit is needed for construction to begin. The Kroger Co. has said it may delay construction until Sawmill Parkway is extended to Hyatts Road, she said. Trustees previously approved an extension of up to three years from the time a zoning permit is issued before the company has to begin construction. The site plan shows a Kroger supermarket and a convenience store-gas station, Foust said.

• Approved a purchase order for $15,000 to be used for routine maintenance of fire department vehicles, including oil changes, tune ups and individual jobs costing less than $2,500. Those more than $2,500 would require approval of the trustees. A specialized maintenance company, Fire Apparatus Service and Repair of Xenia, will perform the work.

• Approved selling a right-of-way easement for a water line to Del-Co Water Co. for $1. The easement is south of Home Road and west of Liberty Road, along Liberty Park. The easement is described as being 10 feet wide and running along the park property on Liberty Road. A gas line easement is in the same area, documents at the meeting show.

• Agreed to let Delaware County Engineer Chris Bauserman's office use stimulus funds to pave Orange Road, east of Perry Road. Pat Blaney of the engineer's office later said the project needs final approval by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The county was allotted $1.81-million of stimulus funds for resurfacing and paving secondary roads. If approved by ODOT, the project would cover Orange Road from Perry Road to U.S. Route 23. The cost is still being determined.

• Agreed to buy three laptop computers for $2,409. The computers are for the fire department. The purchase was planned during budget discussions, Fire Chief John Bernans said. The new units will replace older units. Two of the older units still will be used by the department and one will be used for spare parts, Assistant Chief Tim Jensen said.

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