Neighbor of Veritas expresses traffic concerns

Marietta City Council’s streets and transportation committee heard some concerns Tuesday from a neighbor of The Veritas Classical Academy, a non-chartered, non-tax-supported school that will open this fall in the old Fairview School at 115 Victory Place on Harmar Hill.

Charlie Smith, a 31-year resident who lives across the street from the school, expressed concern that there would be increased traffic along Victory Place, and that his driveway could be blocked by vehicles dropping off or picking up students.

“And there isn’t a lot of room for parking there,” he said. “All of the neighbors only have one parking space on the street in front of their homes.”

Khadine Ritter, one of the school’s founding parents, said most of the traffic would occur when parents drop off students in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, and those vehicles would be on the school side of Victory Place so children would not have to cross the street to access the school property.

“And we don’t want our people parking on the opposite side of the street,” she said, noting traffic patterns for parents are spelled out in the school’s handbook.

Mayor Joe Matthews suggested the city install signage to help prevent parking on the street during school hours.

“We could put up ‘no parking’ signs, designating the area as a loading and unloading zone during certain hours of the school day,” he said.

The committee members agreed that ‘no parking’ signage could be developed to help keep the street cleared during school hours.

In other business Tuesday, Mike Gulliver, project manager for developer Larry Lang Construction, told members of the finance, streets, and water, sewer and sanitation committees that the First Colony Center development project, at the intersection of Ohio 7 and County House Lane, is nearly ready to enter its second phase.

That phase is expected to include the construction of a Tractor Supply Company store on three acres of the 27-acre First Colony Center property, where the store currently located in the Frontier Center is expected to be relocated within the next year.

But Gulliver said a water line, capable of providing enough volume and pressure to fight any potential fires at the new retail facility, had to be installed before construction can begin, according to Marietta Fire Department inspector Richard Stewart.

“It would require enough water to fight a fire if the building became fully-involved,” Stewart explained, adding that a state fire code formula is used to determine the amount of water needed for newly-constructed buildings.

Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham said the fire department, city water department, and the developer have all been working together to make sure all of the facilities at the First Colony Center, including the proposed Tractor Supply store and two hotels already opened on the property, are protected in case of fire.

Also on Tuesday, the planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee discussed using $25,703 from the city’s 2014 Community Development Block Grant to repair the gazebo that has fallen into disrepair on Ohio Street near the Ohio River levee.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said the funding, originally earmarked for sidewalk repairs, could be put toward repair of the gazebo, or it could remain in the CDBG account to help with needed sidewalk work in CDBG-eligible neighborhoods.

If the money remains in the sidewalks account, the city’s capital improvement fund would be used for the gazebo repair, which city engineer Joe Tucker said would cost an estimated $30,000.

Vukovic noted the gazebo would be repaired either way, but council would have to decide whether the money comes from CDBG or from the capital improvement account.