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Support shown for market relocation

A crowd of 13 gathered before Marietta City Council and city administrators Thursday to support the proposed relocation of the River City Farmers Market to half a block of Second Street and recognize the retirements of long-standing city employees and a retired legislator.

The farmers market proposal was applied for last week in a street closure permit to the mayor’s office.

Council requested the mayor hold a public meeting with business owners on the 200 block of Second from Putnam Street to the crosswalk in front of Rockstar Wellness concerning the proposal.

The public meeting had yet to be scheduled prior to council Thursday.

Prior to the business meeting Thursday, Police Chief Rodney Hupp and Fire Chief C.W. Durham said Butler Street is a less-safe option offering more opportunity for accidents because of distracted driving or pedestrians crossing Ohio 7, which follows Third Street through downtown.

Durham said Monday if a vendor does not park in front of a fire hydrant and that passage between erected tents allows for space in the event of emergency for both fire trucks and squad he could support Second Street.

Hupp Wednesday said Second Street also affords ample space for a motorist to turn around without impeding cross traffic.

“That’s a brilliant idea and the perfect location,” Hupp said Wednesday.

At council Thursday, market member Marcus McCartney also advocated for the location, which has the support of Bill Gossett both as a voting member of council and as a business owner on the block.

“I really feel that’s where it needs to be,” said McCartney. “We owe it to them to put them in the best possible situation.”

McCartney, who cited a study in Pennsylvania, said 70 percent of farmers market customers also spend at local businesses in proximity to them.

Councilman Geoff Schenkel pushed for the original request to be heard before a gathering of Second Street businesses, but Safety-Service Director Steve Wetz again declined during council’s meeting Thursday to schedule a public meeting with the businesses owners on Second Street impacted by the original application.

City Law Director Paul Bertram said while Wetz has the authority to suggest a separate location from Second Street, the appeals process in the Marietta Codified Ordinance Chapter 945.18 also allows for the market board to not accept the counter proposal and instead appeal to council for a final decision on their permit application in the original location.

Per that chapter:

“If an application is denied or revoked, the applicant may appeal the denial or revocation of the permit by filing a notice of appeal within seventy-two hours or two working days whichever is longer with the Clerk of Council,” reads the city ordinance. “Upon the filing of the notice of appeal the clerk shall schedule a meeting to hear the appeal within fifteen days of the filing of the notice and shall notify the applicant of the time and place.”

At such a hearing both Wetz and any other person called upon by council may be permitted to speak for and against the original application.

“At the conclusion of the hearing council shall either grant or deny the appeal,” it outlines. “The action of Council shall be final.

The chapter goes on to outline that whomever “violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.”

River City Farm Market Vice President Tom Fagan also said the Second Street location is still the first choice location for the vendors.

Council also passed seven emergency pieces of legislation Thursday.

A resolution or ordinance includes an emergency clause as a mechanism to allow the legislation to take effect immediately after passage by council and approval by the mayor rather than sitting a full 30 days as otherwise prescribed by law.

Legislation concerning fiscal transfers and appropriations are automatically emergency legislation without the specified clause.

Legislation passed Thursday included:

-Resolution 23: The only old business on Thursday’s agenda was the resolution to adopt the 2021 tax budget as required by state law for submission to the Washington County Auditor.

The tax budget is a general outline of planned spending in 2021, but is not the final adopted budget guiding expenditures in the coming year, that budget would be passed at the close of 2020, usually at the final council regular business meeting in December.

– Ordinance 91: Council authorized the appropriation of $116,346.10 Thursday including $50,000 for contractual services for earth movement repairs required for sewer and $32,500 for capital outlays within the water department.

The remaining $33,846.10 covered additional contractual services for both water and sewer and at Gold Star Park and $9,882.10 for maintenance equipment and facilities needs within the utilities conservation fund.

– Ordinance 92: Council authorized the contract for a water and wastewater telemetry system installation by Swiss Valley Associates, of Hannibal, at a total cost not to exceed $20,464.

The telemetry system pitch was heard by council in committee on June 25.

– Ordinance 93: Council authorized the addition of five seasonal labor positions paid for through the Washington County Job and Family Services employment program with appointments authorized between Friday and December 31.

Two of the positions will be assigned to public facilities labor and the remaining three to streets labor.

– Ordinance 94: Council authorized an extension of the waiver for Safety-Service Director Steve Wetz to live within city limits, as required by city law for the position, set to expire on Dec. 31.

The extension is in part due to impacts of coronavirus on the housing market.

– Ordinance 95: Council authorized the reassignment of burden for the community development clerk salary to be 100-percent funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant.

Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf said the 80 percent/20 percent split of the position’s cost burden must change due to the closure of MAREHAB grant funding.

Shoaf said that the change still keeps the city within the 20 percent administrative expense cap for CDBG funding.

– Resolutions 26-28: Council recognized the retirements this year of Fire Inspector Richard Stewart, Mechanic Paul Felton and Police Sgt. Leonard Ritchie.

– Resolution 29: Recognized retired Councilman Steve Thomas for his tenure of eight years as Third Ward Councilman.

– Resolution 30: Council authorized a budget amendment for the 2020 Community Development Block Grant allocation adding $10,049 specifically to the slum and blight line item to be used to demolish 615-619 Putnam St., which is in imminent danger of collapse onto city water and sewer mains according to the city engineer.

– Resolution 31: Council authorized Washington-Morgan Community Action to issue increased available housing waivers due to coronavirus. The city acts as a fiscal pass-through for the service agency.

Council is next scheduled to meet in committees on July 9 beginning at 4:15 p.m. in room 10 of the Armory, 241 Front St., and will be broadcast online via Facebook.

The committees to meet July 9 include Planning, Zoning, Annexation and Housing Committee followed by Employee Relations Committee.

Then Council’s Finance Committee will meet virtually via Zoom and Facebook Live on July 13 at 3 p.m., followed by Streets Committee and then Water, Sewer and Special Utilities Committee.

The committees will then be followed by the city’s first Community Development Block Grant budget request meeting to accept proposals for the 2021 federal grant at 5:30 p.m. in room 10 of the Armory.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

If you go

-July 9: Council committees begin at 4:15 p.m., room 10, Armory. Committees include Planning, Zoning, Annexation and Housing Committee followed by Employee Relations Committee.

-July 13:

-3 p.m.: Finance Committee, Streets Committee and Water, Sewer and Special Utilities committee begin. Room 10 of the Armory.

– 5:30 p.m.: 2021 Community Development Block Grant public meeting in Room 10 of the Armory.

-July 15: 3 p.m. Audit Committee in Room 10 of the Armory.

-July 16: 7:30 p.m. Regular Council Business Meeting, Room 10 of the Armory.

-July 20: 5:30 p.m. 2021 CDBG second public meeting in Room 10 of the Armory.

-July 27: 5:30 p.m. 2021 CDBG third public meeting in Room 10 of the Armory.

-Aug. 3: CDBG request period ends for 2021 funding grant, followed in August by administrative review and committee discussion.

Source: Marietta City Council and administration.

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