The city of Reynoldsburg is looking to crack down on developers who don’t finish the projects they start.
During the May 5 meeting of the service committee, Councilman Ron Stake said a developer has installed a new sewer line and left an eyesore, and wondered how long they have to finish the project, as well as what the city’s options are.
City Engineer Jim Miller said developers have one year to complete a project unless they are directed otherwise.
"The thing that holds them to that is the inspection fees," he said, noting the longer the project continues, the higher the fees. "In some cases, particularly when construction is done in the fall, they wait until spring."
Stake responded, "If people come in and do this halfway, there is no recourse the city has? What you are telling me is the city can’t do anything about this."
Pam Boratyn, director of the safety/service department, said the city’s hands are tied.
"I know of no ‘hammer’ that tells a contractor they must complete their work within a particular time frame," she said.
Stake retorted, "Maybe we need one."
Councilman Mel Clemens, chairman of the service committee, offered, "The permit says you have to finish the project, so you should not be open. If it is in use now, and the project is not complete, I would plug it until they finish it … We are too easy on people like this."
Stake agreed, responding "Maybe we need some teeth – or some ‘hammer’ – in the law, if you will."
Councilwoman Antoinette Newman agreed, saying "I think that is why we need tough building inspectors and tough code enforcement officers."
In other news, plans are moving forward for construction on State Route 256. Boratyn told the committees the city is ready to move forward with plans to replace curbs and gutters on State Route 256.
She said about seven streets are scheduled for paving and mlling, and the target date to start reconstruction is June. The project includes $150,000 from the permissive tax fund to Strawser Paving Co., and $70,671 from the street fund to Decker Construction.
Also during the meeting, the committee agreed to accept a 1.479-acre sanitary sewer easement and a .796 acre waterline easement from Distribution Land Corp. (Limited); a 30-foot wide waterline easement and a 15-foot wide sanitary sewer easement from Tata Corp. (Blacklick Office Park); a .039 acre sidewalk easement, an .085 acre sidewalk easement, and a .058 waterline easement from Two Reynoldsburg Company LLC (Shoppes at East Broad).
The committees also agreed to amend various sections of the regulations for the Stormwater Service Fee Crediting Mechanism, which Miller said has been under-utilized.
"We’re revising this chapter to simplify it and make it more user-friendly," he said.
The service committee agreed to send it to council for its first reading.
The committee also agreed to update its law regarding drainage. Miller said the stormwater management policy from 1982 needs updating to meet requirements. The committee agreed to send it to council for its first reading.
The committees also agreed to postpone discussion on a resolution to oppose legislation pending in the Ohio General Assembly seeking to eliminate mayors’ courts, as well as plans to waive competitive bidding for various exempted contracts and expenditures over $10,000. They plan to revisit the issues in committee in two weeks.