(Posted Aug. 16, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Mount Sterling’s regulations regarding vehicles parked on private property remain as-is, despite proposed changes.
Village council’s nuisance and abatement committee has been working to clarify existing ordinances pertaining to vehicles parked in yards rather than on driveways. The committee’s recommendations for changes came before council on Aug. 9.
As the rules now stand, vehicles can only be parked on improved hard surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt or gravel. The committee recommended that gravel be removed from the list. They also submitted a specific list of motorized and non-motorized vehicles for inclusion in the ordinance.
Jay Pettey, council president pro tem, suggested that gravel remain on the list as a viable, economical option. He also said use of the phrase “such as” before the list of surface options leaves the ordinance unclear.
Council member Andy Drake asked that the options be consistent with what is listed in the Ohio building code. Also, he said he would rather see council put the proposed changes through the customary three readings over three meetings, rather than voting on the changes as an emergency measure as was recommended by the committee.
Council member Becky Martin, chair of the nuisance and abatement committee, said the committee suggested removing gravel from the list because the village has an ongoing nuisance problem with a specific property where multiple vehicles are parked on gravel with untended weeds growing through the gravel. She said the intent was not to remove gravel as an option but rather to not encourage it by listing it specifically.
In light of the discussion, Martin made a motion to change the wording to say “only on improved hard surfaces” without any examples attached. She noted that any new driveways need to go through the zoning process where surface questions could be addressed. Her proposed wording change failed due to lack of a second motion.
Martin also explained that the committee recommended an emergency vote because the proposal was for changes to an existing ordinance, not creation of a new ordinance. She also said that because many nuisance problems happen during summer months, the committee wanted to see changes made soon, rather than wait six weeks for first, second and third readings at council meetings.
Mayor Marci Darlington suggested that council vote down the proposed changes on the emergency reading then make a motion to put the proposed changes on first reading, allowing for future readings.
Instead, council voted 4-1, with Pettey voting “no,” to read the proposed changes as an emergency measure. In the end, the proposal failed due to lack of a second motion to vote on the changes as an emergency. As a result, the regulations on the books remain as-is.
In other business, council held a first reading on an amendment to the village’s fence ordinance. The change defines what the village considers to be a decorative fence. The amendment will be up for a second reading at council’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at town hall.