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Warren County Commissioners Public Meeting
March 27, 2019 12:00 p.m.
Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin called the meeting of the Warren County Commissioners to order with Commissioner Cindy Morrison and Commissioner Jeff Eggleston present.
Staff Present: Stacey Gross, Administrative Assistant, Phil Gilbert, Tax Claim, Eric Hern, Fiscal Director, Nathaniel Schmidt, County Solicitor, Meredith Ketcham, CYS Director, Connie Zaffino, Forest-Warren Human Services, Colten Brown, Warren County CYS, Elizabeth Nicholson, Warren County CYS, Scott Arthur, Warren County CYS, Mike Lyon, Warren County Planning and Zoning, Ed Burris, Veterans Affairs,
Citizens Present: Steven Blume, Renae English, Kellie Knapp, Alexis McAvoy, Marisa Johanson, Lynn Johanson, Rocco DelPrince, Phil Gilbert, Karlene Smith, Michael Fry, Eleanor Dunn, Joe Scully, Josh Cotton (WTO), Gregory Austin, Christine Skinner, Dave Sherman, Jennifer Rossey
Announcements: Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin announced that the meeting is being recorded.
Commissioner Benjamin Kafferlin and Commissioner Cindy Morrison then listed the various times that two or more commissioners were together at various meetings and or events but no action was taken.
Public Hearing: Commissioner Ben Kafferlin turned the meeting over to Mike Lyon, Warren County Planning and Zoning, who explained the proposed adoption of an additional ordinance – section 401.51 – which would allow for county residents and groups to apply for a special exception in in any of the county’s 12 zoned municipalities in order to create spaces reserved for dogs to exercise and play off-leash in a supervised and controlled environment.
Lyon explained that the creation of “dog park” areas would be allowable by Planning and Zoning Board hearing approval only, that a minimum of 1 acre is required for a “dog park,” that setbacks would be dependent on the surrounding area and structures, and that the area would be for the use of dogs and owners only.
Commissioner Kafferlin opened the floor to Commissioners to ask questions or make comments. Hearing none, he then opened the floor to members of the public who wished to comment or ask questions. Joe Scully, Glade Township Supervisor Vice-Chair, asked what the regulations regarding distance between the park in any given area and surrounding residences. Mike Lyon answered that it would be dependent on the zoning classification where a proposed park would be placed, adding that there is a clause calling for 6 feet of space in addition to the setbacks. Joe Scully then asked whether fences would be required to be a certain height. Mike Lyon answered that there is a requirement that fences enclosing parks according to the ordinance be a minimum of four feet.
Commissioner Kafferlin asked whether the proposed ordinance amendment was properly advertised and whether it went through the proper committees. Mike Lyon answered that it was presented to the Planning Commission, who recommended that it be brought before the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Kafferlin called for any further public comment and, hearing none, motioned for the public hearing to be adjourned. Commissioner Eggleston addressed the public saying that this was an opportunity for anyone supporting the amendment to speak in support of it in a public forum.
Rocco DelPrince, a resident of the City of Warren, offered various statistics for the benefits of dog parks to communities, community members, and their pets.
Mike Lyon commented that in the absence of this ordinance, dog parks would not be allowable in any of the county’s 12 zoned municipalities.
Lynn Johanson of Warren said that she owns a storage facility next to the site of a proposed dog park in Starbrick and asked whether people would be entering the dog park there from Route 6. Commissioner Kafferlin said that this was not a hearing to approve any particular dog park, but rather to accept the amendment to the ordinance making it possible to apply for a special exception to create a dog park.
Mike Lyon explained that a site survey would be required with any applications for special exceptions, which would take into account whether a proposed site was the best site for a dog park. Lynn Johanson followed up asking whether there was a study done to see how many people would use a dog park in Starbrick. Karlene Smith answered that a survey had been conducted which indicated enough interest to justify moving forward.
Dave Sherman and Christine Skinner, Executive Director and Assistant at the Warren County Visitor’s Bureau, both said that they anticipate high attendance at the dog park proposed in Starbrick, and spoke on the benefits of dog parks for dogs, owners, and communities.
Karlene Smith clarified that the adoption of the ordinance would allow for people to apply to create a dog park in any of the 12 zoned municipalities, and said that other areas may use the ordinance as a template for their own, as few areas have official language regarding dog parks in their city code.
Marissa Johnason said that she’s not opposed to a dog park as long as its in the right place. She asked if a four-foot fence was tall enough and why the ordinance went from requiring a six foot to a four-foot fence.
Mike Lyon answered that the research he did on dog parks contained mostly information on the daily operation of such areas and included rules and regulations rather than planning and zoning information. From that research, Lyon said, he created a basic ordinance requiring a six-foot fence, which was then lowered to a four-foot fence after talking with various involved parties locally.
Rocco DelPrince said that he used a dog park in Lakewood, N.Y. as the basis for his plans for a Warren County dog park, and said that while no issues have been encountered at the Lakewood dog park with four-foot fences, the plans for the one he’d like to put in Starbrick include five-foot fences.
Commissioner Kafferlin reminded that Commissioner Morrison had moved to close. Commissioner Eggleston seconded. All were in agreement and the public hearing was closed.
Commissioner Eggleston moved to move the vote on the ordinance change up so that those attending specifically for that reason could then leave. Commissioner Morrison seconded, all were in agreement, and the motion carried.
Approval of Ordinance to Change Text to Create a “Dog Park”: Commissioner Kafferlin asked for a motion to approve the adoption of the proposed ordinance creating section 401.51. The motion to approve was made by Commissioner Morrison, seconded by Commissioner Eggleston, Motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Kafferlin asked for any further comments from the board. Commissioner Eggleston said that he really liked the idea of a dog park and that the more amenities we have in the community for all people the better. Commissioner Morrison said that she likes the fact that what she’s done with this is that it gives the opportunity to exist in all the zones from residential to industrial, meaning that there could be a dog park anywhere in Warren County.
County Solicitor Nathanial Schmidt said that the special exception clause means that the hearing process following an application to create a dog park will help ensure that such spaces will be in the most appropriate places going forward.
Commissioner Kafferlin said that anytime we’re opening up the freedom for residents to make the county what they want it to be it’s a good thing. He thanked the community for bringing the idea forward, said he supported it, and wished them the best of luck.
Commissioner Kafferlin then asked for any public comment following the vote.
Joe Scully asked the commissioners whether the county would be giving the dog park proposed for Starbrick any financial support.
Commissioner Kafferlin answered that they had not been requested to do anything.
Joe Scully then asked whether the dog park project managers would be seeking any grant money.
Dave Sherman answered that while the dog park is not a Warren County Visitor’s Bureau project, they would be neighbors of the park and had no reason to believe the project managers would be seeking financial support from county entities other than their own fundraising.
Public Comment: Commissioner Kafferlin opened the floor for any public comment unrelated to the dog park and, hearing none, moved the meeting forward.
- Agenda Content: Commissioner Kafferlin asked whether the agenda met with the commissioners’ approval. Both Commissioner Eggleston and Commissioner Morrison answered in the affirmative.
Minutes from the March 13 Meeting: Commissioner Cindy Morrison said that one name in the March 13 minutes under “citizens present” needed to be corrected to read Carl Seeker.
Fiscal Report: Fiscal Director Eric Hern stated that the General Fund had approximately $1.1 M and about $650,000 in the Eriebank account. He said that there was no need to tap the TAN at this point; cash flow was healthy.
Proclamation(s): Child Abuse Prevention Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, National Telecommunicator Week, National Library Week
After reading the Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation, Commissioner Cindy Morrison said she commends Children and Youth and other child welfare agencies in the county for supporting the commissioners’ efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Meredith Ketcham said that she appreciates the proclamation for calling attention to the issue of child abuse and neglect in the county.
After reading the Sexual Assault Awareness Month proclamation, Commissioner Cindy Morrison said that A Safe Place does a great job for our community and the commissioners are very grateful that they’re here to help us.
After reading the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week proclamation, Commissioner Ben Kafferlin asked that the possessive apostrophe in the second paragraph of the proclamation needed to be omitted. He said that two things have changed since this proclamation last year: that as much attention needs to be paid to restorative justice for victims as crime as is paid to rehabilitating those who commit crimes, and that his personal experience of having been the victim of crime has given him greater insight into the concerns that victims have following the encounters in which they were victimized.
After reading the National Telecommunicator Week proclamation, Public Safety Director Ken McCorrison said that he appreciates the county’s recognition of the 911 staff. Commissioner Morrison said that the commissioners appreciate McCorrison and his staff for all the work they do for the county. Commissioner Eggleston said that the community effort to get the new 911 system up and running has been great to see, and thanked 911 staff and administration for implementing the “lifesaving” changes.
After reading the National Library Week proclamation, Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said that Warren County is blessed with a wealth of quality library resources that he’s personally been the beneficiary of since childhood. He said that one’s ability to create his or her life is deeply impacted his or her ability to read and understand language.
Kelli Knapp, Warren Library Association Director, said that she appreciated the proclamation.
Ellie Dunn, of the Youngsville Library, said that she’s found community engagement with the library ongoing and high, and thanked the commissioners for the proclamation.
Commissioner Morrison said that the libraries in the communities surrounding the City of Warren are important for those who can’t get into the city to access the resource of the library, and it’s the commissioners’ job to support those regional resources.
Alexis McAvoy, Director of the Sheffield Library, said that the library there serves not just as a resource for information and media, but as a community hub where residents come to check in on one another regularly.
Commissioner Kafferlin asked for a motion to accept the agenda, minutes as amended, and proclamations as read. Commissioner Morrison moved to approve, Commissioner Eggleston seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Act 13 Funding Approval for Pictometry Invoice: Motion was made by Commissioner Morrison, seconded by Commissioner Eggleston to approve the request of 5,918.46 of Act 13 funds to offset the balance on the Pictometry invoice. Motion carried unanimously.
BEI Car Wash Agreement: After seeking confirmation from County Solicitor Nathanial Schmidt, that the county was sufficiently insured and the county was appropriately indemnified from any potential injury or accidents happening as a result of use of the county’s warehouse, Commissioner Cindy Morrison moved to approve the license agreement, Commissioner Eggleston seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Act 13 Funding Approval – Jinks Road Bridge, Spring Creek Twp: Commissioner Kafferlin moved to approve up to $50,000 for the Jinks Road Bridge project. Commissioner Morrison seconded. Commissioner Eggleston suggested using the remainder of the fund, which was a small amount more than Commissioner Kafferlin moved to approve. Commissioner Morrison moved to amend the agreement to include the entirety of remaining funds - $51,550. Commissioner Kafferlin accepted the amendment, and moved to approve all funds in the Act 13 Bridge Account in July 2019 to facilitate the Jinks Road Bridge Replacement. Commissioner Eggleston seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Resolution #3135 Establishing a Sustainability Task Force: Commissioner Eggleston moved to adopt Resolution #3135 with the four initial appointees: Dan Glotz, himself, Piper Vanord, and Rev. Mathew Scott with more to be appointed once approved. Commissioner Kafferlin Seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Personnel Transaction Report
March 27, 2019
New Hires for Warren County
Changes for Warren County Employees
Motion was made by Commissioner Cindy Morrison, seconded by Commissioner Jeff Eggleston to approve the Personnel as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
Adjournment: Motion was made by Commissioner Cindy Morrison, seconded by Commissioner Jeff Eggleston to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried unanimously.
Meeting adjourned 12:41 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Approved:
Pamela J. Matve Jeff Eggleston, Secretary
Chief Clerk Warren County Commissioner