NEW PARIS — Village Council members discussed construction projects and passed a zoning ordinance during their regular monthly meeting Monday, June 7.
Mayor Kathy Smallwood suggested that council enact a zoning ordinance to define and regulate the presence of “tiny homes” in the village. Under the proposed ordinance, a tiny home would be defined as a recreational vehicle covering an area of 500 square foot or less, and designed to be used as a permanent single-family dwelling.
No additional storage buildings would be allowed, according to Smallwood, and a skirt or shrubbery would be required to cover the vehicle’s wheels.
Councilmember Peggy Bishop adamantly opposed the ordinance.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Bishop said. “We have too many rules and regulations now.”
Mayor Smallwood disagreed.
“I haven’t heard any complaints from people in the area,” Smallwood said of structures already located within the village. “But there still needs to be something in the zoning to cover it.”
Council ultimately approved the ordinance by a margin of four to one, with Bishop voting against.
Trucks and semi trailers
Council member Mary Jane Thomas raised concerns about residents parking large trucks on village streets.
“I don’t want to see this village full of semis and trailers,” Thomas said. Thomas also complained about fuel leaking from semis and “eating up the roads.”
Current legislation dictates that residents must own a large vehicle in order to park within the village, even on their own property. Thomas indicated that even this was unnecessary, however.
“That’s what the truck stops are for,” Thomas said, indicating that residents didn’t want to pay additional fees to house their vehicles there. “This place is junky enough without all these trucks.”
Susan Laux, of Greenville-based civil engineering firm Mote & Associates, updated the council on a number of ongoing projects, including a planned park on the corner of East Walnut and North Spring Street.
The park, which will be funded by a combination of a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Land and Water Conservation Fund and matching funds supplied by the village, will eventually include a splash pad, basketball court, shelters, and a walking trail, according to Laux.
Council also discussed plans to improve curbs and sidewalks on Hutton Street. The project is expected to cost approximately $200,000, according to Laux, with $122,000 to be paid for using funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission and the remainder with matching funds supplied by the village.
Laux also informed the council of plans by the Ohio Dept. of Transportation to add new guardrails, paint, and paving overlay to a bridge spanning a tributary of the Whitewater River located on OH-121 in the village. ODOT also plans to replace the superstructure on a bridge located north of the village.
“They’re paying for it 100 percent,” Laux said of the project.
Laux indicated that the bridges would likely be reduced to one lane throughout the duration of the project, and might be closed entirely for no more than half a day.
Laux presented the council with a draft of preliminary legislation authorizing the work, which was approved by unanimous vote.
In other business
New Paris Area Chamber of Commerce president Becky Jordan updated the council on plans for this year’s AppleFest, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 10-12 in the village. Portions of Spring Street and Walnut Street will be blocked off for the event, according to Jordan, who also stated that the festival would include fireworks.
Council member Kim Fields apologized to residents of the village regarding complaints made by a “concerned citizen” about brush and cardboard being burned on Fields’ property.
“For 37 years we’ve burned on that same spot, and for 37 years nobody has said a word,” Fields said. Fields offered to submit her resignation, but Mayor Smallwood and other council members agreed that no further action was needed.
Council also voted unanimously to pass the second reading of a resolution requesting an estimate of resources from the Preble County Auditor for the renewal of an upcoming two-mill, five-year general operations levy.
The levy will tax property owners in the village approximately $2 for every $1,000 of assessed value for a period of five years, and is expected to appear on the ballot in November.
The next meeting of New Paris Village Council will take place Monday, July 12 at 7 p.m. in the New Paris City Building, located at 301 W. Cherry St.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish