2011 State of the Village Report
Mary Jo Cusack, Mayor
Rather than limit the State of the Village Report to 2011, this report will incorporate the activities and accomplishments of the last eight years.
: Probably the most important issue of the last eight years was whether Riverlea should annex to Worthington. A commission was appointed – three members from Riverlea and three from Worthington. A good deal of time was spent by the Commissioners and Worthington staff in providing all plans and proposals. All involved deserve our gratitude for their time and effort. Both Riverlea and Worthington will continue independently and we look forward to a good future for both.
EPA Issues and Street and Curbs
: The arrival of a demand that certain activities be pursued by the Village resulted in an unfunded mandate by the State to not only Riverlea but ALL Columbus suburbs. The suburbs had several meetings, which your Mayor and Solicitor attended, and united to enter into a settlement agreement with the EPA. The mandates resulted from a settlement that Columbus had made with the Sierra Club and the need for the suburbs to assist. Riverlea obtained the services of Burgess and Niple to advise us in our required and planned improvements. Since we had kept up with our infrastructure, we were better off than some other suburbs. Riverlea’s plan is to follow the settlement timeline and to follow our pre-existing plan to redo streets and curbs to include correcting problems from the 1980 paving. Replacement of the lift station will probably be a part of this.
Riverlea also submitted a required Storm Water Plan and approved submission of a sanitary sewer overflow emergency response plan (SSOER) (ERP).
Codification of Ordinances
Our laws had simply been enacted and were not easy to find. Council enacted an ordinance to codify our ordinances so they would be more accessible to users, to enact a Code of Ordinances for the Village revising, amending, restating, codifying and compiling certain general ordinances of the Village. These ordinances can be found on the Riverlea Web Site.
Council also enacted legislation to set up a website and provide both historic and current information and to provide a web manager. This has been completed and is kept current with agenda, minutes, and other information.
Council approved filing a complaint against AEP with the Public Utilities Commission as to our previous service including 41 outages in the two years preceding 2004. This resulted in massive tree cutting and some new equipment. Up until the last year, outages were much less frequent and more rapidly fixed.
Several activities involving the river and owners of homes along the river arose. Scenic River designation was rejected due to concerns about state authority. An attempt by FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed) to designate the river as a water trail was rejected. A plan to put a bike path thru Worthington, Riverlea and Columbus was deleted from Worthington’s Comprehensive Plan at the request of your Mayor. Riverlea joined MORPC’s Watershed Plan. Your Mayor attended several meetings. Riverlea requested that no changes be made affecting Riverlea and this was agreed.
A Land Use Committee was appointed to make recommendations to Council. As a result, along with restructuring the Planning Commission, Council enacted the following in regard to Land Use:
- Limitation of solicitations from dusk to dawn and to allow residents to place a “No Solicitation” sign in their window or on the front of their house which carries a penalty if not honored by solicitors.
- Inclusion of landscaping materials along with building materials in those items which may not be placed in the street.
- Further regulation of signage.
- Establishment of a Residential Building Department for theVillage of Riverlea.
- Provision for Additional Notice for Certain Matters Pending Before the Village Planning Commission and to revise certain timing and other requirements for the consideration of applications for a certificate of appropriateness and applications for a variance.
- Clarification of the permitted uses of single family residential property in the Village.
- Clarification of the requirements for certain fences, hedges and shrubs in the Village.
- Requirement for the Zoning Commissioner to obtain licenses from residents wishing to place fences at the outside of the Village easement.
- Regulation of dumpsters and temporary storage units.
- Regulation of frontage and maximum coverage of lots.
- Requirements for curb cuts and drives.
Riverlea requested that an environmental impact study be done by Don Scott Field and the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University and to Cause the University to Undertake Certain Activities Regarding Don Scott Airport per WOOSE’s Report as follows:
- Before approving any expansion at The Ohio State University Airport, the Board of Trustees should require the OSU Airport to mitigate noise to homes and communities within the 65 DNL noise contour.
- OSU Trustees should question why citizen complaints and concerns about OSU Airport have not been adequately addressed. At a minimum, the Ohio State University airport should be required to establish a complaint system to record and immediately address citizen complaints and concerns about aircraft. The system should identify specific procedures for FAA intervention when FAA regulations are broken. The system should include periodic public review for effectiveness.
- An Airport Business Plan and its relationship to a Regional Airport Development plan should be provided. The financial impact of an expanded Ohio State University Airport on Rickenbacker, Columbus, Bolton and Delaware airports needs to be considered in the business plan.
- OSU Trustees should perform a cost / benefit analysis for an expanded airport considering both the benefit to OSU and adverse effects to local citizens.
- The present land holding of the 1,378 acres, which includes OSU airport, should be assessed for its “best and highest use” as a fiduciary responsibility of the OSU Trustees.
- OSU Trustees should approve/support a request from OSU airport for FAA to perform a full Environmental Impact Statement. Results should be released to the public so all stakeholders understand the impacts of the expansion before approving the 2004 OSU Airport Master Plan.
The gathering of petitions to oppose the expansion and continued noise from the Don Scott Field was accomplished in Riverlea.
Your Mayor and Solicitor appeared before The Ohio State University Board of Trustees Facilities planning Committee to oppose expansion.
Your Mayor appeared before the Board of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (of which she is a Board Member) to argue that an Environmental Impact Study should be completed for Don Scott Field.
Your Solicitor and Mayor alternated as members of the Airport Advisory Committee.
Council passed a Records Retention Ordinance providing for how Village records are retained and destroyed.
Appropriation of Property
Council declined to appropriate property for a cut through to Worthington, although other proposed solutions were considered and discussed.
Ordinances and Resolutions
Riverlea enacted limited new requirements, including:
- To further regulate dogs running at large within the Village.
- To establish the office and duties of Marshal in the Village.
- To support light rail in the north corridor.
- To execute an Agreement of Understanding with Franklin County Children’s Services to investigate child abuse and neglect in the Village.
- The placing of a light activator at Southington and High.
- To Withhold Consent for the Remission of Taxes, Penalties and Interest on an Application for Real Property Exemption filed under Section 3 of SubH.B.362 of the 124th general Assembly. 5
- To Oppose the So-Called Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) Constitutional Amendment.
- To approve a Public Records Policy for the Village.
- To authorize an agreement with Donald and Julia Brogan.
- To express the intent of the Village Council regarding a certain appropriation proposal.
- A Resolution to Approve a Subdivision of a Portion of Lot 97 and a Portion of the Vacant Pioneers Street in the Village.
- A Resolution to Approve a Subdivision of a parcel of Land in the Village located at Riverglen Drive and Crescent Court.
Among organizations of which your Mayor is either on the Board or required to attend meetings are the following: Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), FEMA, Franklin County Board of Health, SWACO, Wildlife Roundtable, Olentangy Watershed, Mayor’s Conference.
In addition, the new state tax structure provides for municipal governments to share with schools and libraries the local Government Fund, which previously went to local governments only.
Jennie McCormick of the Worthington Historical Society did a lovely write up of the History of Riverlea for the Intelligencer.
Nancy Goorey sought assistance from Riverleans to raise funds for the Worthington Arts Center.
The annual July 4th picnic, Halloween Party, and Easter egg hunt have been held.
Long Range Plan
It would appear that the long range plan should include the infrastructure and street and curbs. This will require a bond issue or levy. Riverlea has historically funded the streets with bond issues.
It is hoped that at the time we do the streets and curbs, we can consider electrical service to the Circle and water service to the entrance markers.
We are fortunate to have the Worthington Fire Department and Worthington Police Department. The Fire Department seems to be doing its usual great job. The Police Department, in addition to its usual great job, has a new Chief (Jim Mosic) who would like to work closer with the Community and work with us on a Block Watch program.
Other long range plans should be submitted by the incoming Mayor and Council.
Thank you to all who participated as elected and appointed officials – and as residents supporting Riverlea.
Submitted by Mary Jo Cusack, Mayor, December 2011