Wilmington council begins repealing G1


5-2 vote to be followed with two more readings

By Nathan Kraatz - [email protected]



Emma Geggie shakes hands with Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth, who declared Friday, April 8, “Emma Geggie Day.” Geggie won the state championship in the Level 8 Jr. D Balance Beam Competition and finished first in six competitions.


Nathan Kraatz | Wilmington Council

From left, Dennis Harris, Mary Harris, Jennifer Puller, Alan Tino and Josiah Puller listen as Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth presents Josiah “Big Joe” Puller with a resolution declaring Thursday, April 7, “Josiah Puller Day.” Puller won two state championships, had a 38-0 record and will go on to the national championship.


Nathan Kraatz | Wilmington Council

Council also:

• Heard council member Loren Stuckert, who said he was concerned that council is discussing rate increases “across the board,” including a stormwater management fee, solid waste collections and water rate increases and taxes. “I’m really hoping the council can work together with the mayor to figure out some sort of a way to make the size of community operations match the current local economy,” Stuckert said.

• Appropriated $65,000 from the water fund for relocating water lines, including one that the city will be reimbursed for; $4,600 from the general fund for education and training and temporary services in the law director’s office; and $15,000 from the maintenance and repair fund to repair traffic lights ahead of expected insurance claims.

• Transferred $375 from police incidentals to pay an unemployment claim related to a part-time doctor used when SWAT teams were called and $600 from Clinton County Municipal Court incidentals to jury and witness fees to pay jurors after a jury trial.

• Requested Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl’s office to certify what a one-mill and a two-mill property tax levy would generate. The certification does not levy such a tax, council member Mark McKay said.

• Amended the city’s ordinance on collecting deposits for water services. No deposit has been collected and water committee members continue to discuss whether to collect one in the future, according to council member Kelsey Swindler. Swindler said amending the ordinance was necessary because the original ordinance, as written, ran contrary to state law.

• Heard Wilmington resident James Dixon, who shared materials showing that tax credits are available to employers who hire, among others, ex-felons. Dixon, who said he retired from the Ohio Department of Corrections, said ex-felons are often labeled and unable to get jobs and become productive citizens after release.

• Heard council member Jonathan McKay, who said the city had 14 burials and sold 20 grave plots in the first quarter of the year. A tree fell, and the damaged markers are being repaired and several trees in the cemetery will be removed, beginning this week, according to Jonathan McKay and Wilmington Safety and Service Director Brian Shidaker.

WILMINGTON — After some discussion, Wilmington Council in a 5-2 vote passed the first of an expected three readings on an ordinance that would remove the G-1 Gateway zoning ordinance from city books .

Council members Joe Spicer and Lonnie Stuckert II voted against the first reading.

The ordinance, approved by council in 2014, was to be enacted last year by a map, but Wilmington voters rejected it when that map was put to them on the ballot. It aimed to change the zoning of properties in the city’s “gateway” areas, where people primarily enter the city.

President of Council Randy Riley said repealing the ordinance wouldn’t change anyone’s zoning.

Supporters of repealing the ordinance said residents concerned about Gateway zoning can’t trust an amended version of the zoning change. Instead, they suggested starting over.

“We think there’s been enough concern about this ordinance that we deem it necessary to repeal this and possibly start from scratch,” said council member Randi Milburn, chair of the judiciary committee that presented the ordinance.

“I’m fine with repealing this as long as we’re moving forward with something else,” said council and judiciary committee member Matt Purkey. “Giving us three readings, I think, will give us time to get that in place.”

“The letter ‘G’ and the number ‘1’ have too much power in this town,” Matt Purkey said. “Let’s get rid of it, let’s start from scratch.”

Council and judiciary committee member Kelsey Swindler, elected in November, said that while she campaigned, she would explain reasons why she favored Gateway zoning and found that residents cited the same reasons for opposing it.

“There’s this deep misunderstanding on both sides,” Swindler said. “After that judiciary committee meeting, it was pretty clear that the willingness to work together on that isn’t there. I’m sad about that. I think that speaks to the erosion of public trust. … If we can begin to work together, we have so much to do.”

Council member Mark McKay said Gateway zoning “rightly or wrongly” has a stigma attached to it.

“I just want us to move as quickly as we can towards some type of similar legislation in the future,” Mark McKay said.

Those opposed to repeal said they believe the decision was hasty and rash and that opposition to the zoning ordinance was misinformed.

“I think that this is a hasty decision,” said Stuckert. “I think there hasn’t been enough time to counteract the misinformation that’s been put out there. I think we’re moving too fast on this, and there should be more discussion to counteract the misinformation.”

Wilmington resident Mike Mandelstein said the voting results from November, where Gateway zoning was defeated by a 75-25 percent margin, suggest council isn’t moving forward fast enough.

Stuckert countered that decisions were made based on misinformation, and Mandelstein said misinformation and high passion ran on both sides.

“I’m willing to make it right, but we do still have a segment of the public that are really adamant about protecting historic structures,” Spicer said, adding that council should wait for an alternative before removing Gateway zoning.

“There was some misinformation,” Spicer said. “We didn’t mount a campaign to counteract them, either.”

Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth said, “Our zoning rules have kind of grown piecemeal over the years as the city has grown. Let’s just redo our zoning like we’re starting from scratch.”

Milburn said the committee will further discuss forming a task force to discuss zoning at future meetings that would do just that. She said that task force will contain officials and citizens.

While the map enacting Gateway zoning was defeated, it wasn’t clear whether a citizen might be able to get their own property rezoned into the ordinance itself.

Wilmington Safety and Service Director Brian Shidaker said if someone requested their parcel rezoned as a Gateway property, he would pass it along to the city’s planning commission. If the planning commission, which Riley said was “adamantly opposed” to that kind of “spot zoning,” approved the request and council didn’t overturn it, a Gateway zoning parcel would be grandfathered in to the city’s future zoning.

“In theory, it could be there,” Shidaker said.

Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.

Emma Geggie shakes hands with Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth, who declared Friday, April 8, “Emma Geggie Day.” Geggie won the state championship in the Level 8 Jr. D Balance Beam Competition and finished first in six competitions.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_WCouncil-Geggie_cmyk.jpgEmma Geggie shakes hands with Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth, who declared Friday, April 8, “Emma Geggie Day.” Geggie won the state championship in the Level 8 Jr. D Balance Beam Competition and finished first in six competitions. Nathan Kraatz | Wilmington Council

From left, Dennis Harris, Mary Harris, Jennifer Puller, Alan Tino and Josiah Puller listen as Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth presents Josiah “Big Joe” Puller with a resolution declaring Thursday, April 7, “Josiah Puller Day.” Puller won two state championships, had a 38-0 record and will go on to the national championship.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_WCouncil-Puller_cmyk.jpgFrom left, Dennis Harris, Mary Harris, Jennifer Puller, Alan Tino and Josiah Puller listen as Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth presents Josiah “Big Joe” Puller with a resolution declaring Thursday, April 7, “Josiah Puller Day.” Puller won two state championships, had a 38-0 record and will go on to the national championship. Nathan Kraatz | Wilmington Council
5-2 vote to be followed with two more readings

By Nathan Kraatz

[email protected]

Council also:

• Heard council member Loren Stuckert, who said he was concerned that council is discussing rate increases “across the board,” including a stormwater management fee, solid waste collections and water rate increases and taxes. “I’m really hoping the council can work together with the mayor to figure out some sort of a way to make the size of community operations match the current local economy,” Stuckert said.

• Appropriated $65,000 from the water fund for relocating water lines, including one that the city will be reimbursed for; $4,600 from the general fund for education and training and temporary services in the law director’s office; and $15,000 from the maintenance and repair fund to repair traffic lights ahead of expected insurance claims.

• Transferred $375 from police incidentals to pay an unemployment claim related to a part-time doctor used when SWAT teams were called and $600 from Clinton County Municipal Court incidentals to jury and witness fees to pay jurors after a jury trial.

• Requested Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl’s office to certify what a one-mill and a two-mill property tax levy would generate. The certification does not levy such a tax, council member Mark McKay said.

• Amended the city’s ordinance on collecting deposits for water services. No deposit has been collected and water committee members continue to discuss whether to collect one in the future, according to council member Kelsey Swindler. Swindler said amending the ordinance was necessary because the original ordinance, as written, ran contrary to state law.

• Heard Wilmington resident James Dixon, who shared materials showing that tax credits are available to employers who hire, among others, ex-felons. Dixon, who said he retired from the Ohio Department of Corrections, said ex-felons are often labeled and unable to get jobs and become productive citizens after release.

• Heard council member Jonathan McKay, who said the city had 14 burials and sold 20 grave plots in the first quarter of the year. A tree fell, and the damaged markers are being repaired and several trees in the cemetery will be removed, beginning this week, according to Jonathan McKay and Wilmington Safety and Service Director Brian Shidaker.

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