By: Tara Blue
Parks Board Meeting July 10
The Parks Board approved payment for the Fall Festival shirts and the car show trophies. The board plans to possibly set up a festive pumpkin photo op area at the Fall Festival. The board is also looking to contact Moser’s to outsource a pumpkin producer for the event, as our local producers will not have pumpkins ready to harvest by the Fall Fest on Saturday, Sept. 9th due to our growing season.
The board also discussed the current absence of alcohol usage regulations in Ashland’s Chapter 25 Parks and Recreation code. Several board members discussed adding park alcohol usage parameters to the city code, but Vice Chairman Brian Sapp suggested the board consult with the City Attorney Todd Smith before drafting revisions to the code, which would then be recommended to the board. City Clerk Leslie Martin will speak to Smith first, and discuss with the board during the next meeting on August 14th at 6pm.
Public Works Director James Creel also suggested the city adopt a public-facing availability calendar and reservation system. If implemented, the new system would allow residents to view available dates for reserving park facilities such as the fields and shelters and charge a rental fee. Elisabeth Sobczak and James Creel both agreed that charging a small rental fee might offset costs associated with removing excess garbage left behind by some residents after use.
Lastly, the Parks Board approved door locks for the park bathrooms in the amount of $6500.00. The locks are specifically designed to prevent vandalism.
Planning & Zoning Board Meeting July 11th
Nick and Kelly Martin requested that the property at 104 South Main Street be rezoned from General Commercial to High Density Residential. Their plans for the property include building an affordable housing complex with five two bedroom units. The analysis done by the city states that “affordable and attainable housing are target goals for the city” and that a “multifamily housing stock in close proximity to downtown… would add value to the area and would lend towards reinvestment and revitalization efforts in our downtown.” Resident Peggy Wren inquired about the future plans for the property during the public comment time and expressed concern at the current downtown parking situation. Commissioner Dooley stated that he is against all High Density Residential zoning in the downtown area, arguing that low-income housing statistically brings more crime, drugs, and violence, and puts more of a strain on the police department. The request to rezone 104 Main Street from General Commercial to High Density Residential was not recommended by the Parks Board, with a tied vote of 4-4. City Administrator Kyle Michel was absent and would have been able to cast the tie breaking vote.
UPDATE: The Board of Aldermen met July 18th and approved the Martin’s request for rezone at 104 Main Street.
The request by Timeless Treasures of Columbia LLC to rezone 11550 S. Hardwick Lane from General Commercial to Light Industrial was recommended. The request by Larkin Powers to rezone 601 E. Liberty Lane from General Commercial to Light Industrial was recommended.
Commissioner Dooley voiced concern about a resident who called Salter’s Lawn Service to pick up yard waste under the city’s contract. Dooley stated that the resident’s yard waste met the requirements and was initially approved by the pickup team, but the resident then received a phone call later claiming the yard waste was excessive and that the resident would be billed an additional $200. Rick Lewis stated that this story was lacking in details and the situation is a private matter between the resident and Salter.
Vice Chair Jerrod Bryan expressed concern about the absence of commissioners over the past few months, which he said paints a picture of developer/development favoritism. He also questioned the voting roles of city staff and says that in the past, the city staff was discouraged from accepting voting roles. He pleaded with the public to increase their participation in city business. Bryan stated that the current system is “detaching the community from their government”.
Resident Peggy Wren stated that the people she talks to feel that there’s no point in getting involved because the boards are going to do what they’ve already decided to do and don’t take public opinion into enough consideration to make a difference. Another resident (name unknown) said that the public hearing notification signs had font sizes which made them illegible and less likely to be noticed by the public.
Chamber of Commerce Meeting July 13th
City Administrator Kyle Michel stated that the South Main Street Waterline and Resurfacing Project will begin on July 14th with completion before the start of the school year on August 29th. Throughout the duration of the project, South Main Street will be regularly closed to through traffic.
The project will replace approximately 2,400 linear feet of water line, install approximately 600 linear feet of new water line, and resurface the street of South Main Street between Broadway and S. Henry Clay Blvd. Next, Dave Westhoff of Westhoff Rentals notified the board of his partnership with Domino’s Pizza in his “Boone Corner” building project at 203 North Henry Clay Blvd (see photo on p. 1). He says the additional suites are available for rent.
The project has 5 units for rent and one unit has already been rented to use as a Domino’s Pizza location. He stated that the project should be complete by November and requested letters of support to receive funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Lastly, Southern Boone Athletic Director Trent Tracy pitched the new sports sponsorship packages which offers local businesses the chance to feature their ads and logos on the new video scoreboard during home games. There are three levels of sponsorships and as the new scoreboard is already paid for by the no-tax-increase bond, Tracy says all the money made from sponsorships will remain with Southern Boone Schools Activities. He also states that the new digital scoreboard will possibly be used for movie nights and community events, as it is a smaller version of Lakeside Ashland’s screen.
If you would like to get involved:
The Parks Board meets the second Monday of each month at 6pm at City Hall.
The Planning and Zoning Board meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm at City Hall.
The Chamber meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 8am at Southern Boone School’s Central Office.
CORRECTION: Boone County Journal incorrectly published Jeffery Kays as the city attorney in this week’s paper and has corrected it here in this article.
Published July 19th, 2023