By Ron Nunnari
UNION — City council dealt with only one agenda item at its Sept. 11 meeting, a resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.
Under visitor’s comments council heard concerns from a few residents. Douglas Francis requested the city meet with the owner of The Covered Wagon to try to convince him to reconfigure his parking lot.
With only one entrance/exit, traffic issues have increased along with traffic accidents.
“I live in the very last house located on the side street directly across from The Covered Wagon,” Francis stated. “In the 10 years or so that I have been there I have had the fortune, or misfortune, of watching some pretty horrific accidents happen.”
He noted that as the business has progressed, which he is happy and pleased to see happen, he feels the owner has lost sight of having a safe entrance and a safe exit.
About 10 days ago there was a horrific accident when a stone crusher vehicle struck the driver of a vehicle exiting the business.
“The individual could not see and pulled right out in front of the stone crusher, which is a huge piece of equipment,” Francis said. “It took two Jaws of Life to get the young man removed from the vehicle, and I am sure that he is still hospitalized.”
Francis asked that city council in some form or fashion talk with the business owner to ask him to seriously consider reconfiguring his parking lot, which is still set up like it was when the business first opened.
“With the advent of all his increased business and the fact that he has put a fence up with flowers in the way, some of our older generation people, and I am in that group too, can’t quite see over the steering wheel to access the road,” Francis said.
“They forget that while they are buying cookies and flowers that the speed limit that they are ready to step out into is not their regular street of 25 mph, it’s 50 mph.”
Francis suggested the parking lot should be changed to have a separate entrance and separate exit to prevent more accidents.
“I’m afraid the next accident is going to be a fatality,” he noted. “I’ve already rushed out there a half a dozen times. Thank God I had the training as an old fireman to be able to render assistance. I am really concerned, because this time when the car got hit the front end ended up on my side of the road.”
Francis also said the business owners drive farm equipment on the road when bringing produce in and they need to understand that their equipment must display a slow moving vehicle placard on the back.
“People can’t get into that parking lot or out without taking their lives in their own hands,” Francis added.
City Manager John Applegate said the city would take a look at it and talk to the business owner about the situation.
“We will see if we can make it safer. I understand your concerns,” said Mayor Michael O’Callaghan.
Resident Rick Elworth, a former Dayton police officer, thanked council for the moment of silence held at the start of the meeting in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
He asked what model of policing the city institutes. He suggested “selective enforcement” was taking place where some people were not being held accountable while other are. No specifics were provided.
Law Director Joe Moore said he was not aware of any specific model used in the city. Moore said he did not believe selective enforcement is an acceptable practice.
Elworth asked that if a police officer, no matter where they work, was to target somebody for a personal vendetta, would the city consider that as selective enforcement?
Mayor O’Callaghan agreed that it would be.
Moore said that is a term that could have a lot of different meanings. Elworth agreed and said he was only interested in getting general viewpoints on the topic.
A third resident, who wished not to have his name published due to retaliation from neighbors, addressed council for the second time seeking a fireworks ban in the city.
Reach Ron Nunnari by email: [email protected].