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City Council tables sidewalk ordinance

By BRIAN BOHNERT
for the courier
FOSTORIA — An ordinance relating to sidewalk cleaning and repair was tabled by Fostoria City Council Tuesday.
The ordinance designed to make property owners accountable for maintaining sidewalks on their property was put on hold after several council members voiced concern over the proposed legislation.
Under the ordinance, property owners would be required to keep the sidewalks along the street open, in good condition and free from snow, ice, filth, mud, “or other nuisance including deteriorating, cracked and unleveled sidewalk blocks” more than two inches high.
According to the ordinance, property owners would be given 24 hours from the end of a winter storm to remove snow or ice. If not, the landowner would be billed by the city for the cost of removal.
Violation of the proposed law would be a minor misdemeanor, according to the ordinance.
Law Director Tim Hoover said the 24-hour period for snow and ice removal would not pertain to the landowner’s responsibility for repairing broken, cracked or dilapidated sidewalks.
Several members of council, including 1st Ward Representative Jonathan Hay, At-Large Representative Georgianna Widmer and 3rd Ward Representative Thomas Lake, asked that a time frame for sidewalk repairs be addressed in the ordinance.
Hay said he and Lake had discussed the idea of potentially working with residents within their districts to fix sidewalk problems in bulk for a lower price instead of homeowners replacing individual slabs of concrete themselves at a higher cost.
Hay said there is a problem with the condition of city sidewalks, but he is not in favor of citing a homeowner without providing them an outlet to rectify the situation.
Council referred the proposal to the Law And Ordinance Committee, which will host a meeting.
Separately, the city’s long-awaited Stearns Road project took another step forward Tuesday as council gave a final reading to an improvement and maintenance agreement between the city of Fostoria and Perry Township, Wood County, that will allow for greater semi-truck access to “commercial and industrial locations” in Fostoria.
The project, which has been in the planning stages for the better part of a decade, will widen about a one-half mile of Stearns Road to three lanes while also installing curbs and storm water drains. Fostoria City Council is continuing to show its support for economic development here.
Construction is expected to begin sometime this spring.
Council also gave a first reading to an ordinance Tuesday to grant an appropriation of $30,000 from the Community Development Fund to Fostoria Economic Development Corporation.
Approval of the ordinance would also allow interest earned from the city’s STAR Ohio account to be spent for the organization.

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