Questions Raised About Proposed Basketball Court
Lakewood City Council returned to regular sessions after their summer break in August on September 4, 2012. There were a few guests from the public in the audience while Council President Brian Powers called the meeting to order at 7:34 P.M.
Councilman David Anderson (Ward I) began the meeting by reading a report from the Housing Committee regarding the proposed ordinance that outlines guidelines for holding garage and yard sales. A few changes were made to the ordinance including allowing those in apartments to hold sales. The final version of the ordinance allows any one property to hold 3 sales a year, each to last no more then 3 days, they have to be held between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and the sale should be held in the rear yard unless not possible due to the absence of a the yard. The ordinance also designates the number and size of signs advertising the sale to be no more then 5, each measuring less then 5 square feet and they cannot be affixed to utility polls. The signs are allowed to be put up 1 day prior to the event and have to be removed within 6 hours of the sales end.
Before voting on the ordinance, Councilman Powers (At-Large) asked Councilman Anderson if the Committee considered a hardship provision which would allow a residence to hold more sales if they need to sell all the items in a home for reasons such as death or long distance relocation. Anderson said the Committee had not considered such a provision but that he would be open to including one. Powers then made a motion to add language which would allow that change.
Council agreed to the change including the hardship clause and then passed the ordinance.
Next Councilman Tom Bullock (Ward II) asked Council to consider an ordinance that would eliminate the fee for renewing registration of dogs the ordinance deems dangerous. He stated that upon initial registration the City does do a lot of legwork including verification of micro-chipping and insurance, taking photographs, and entering the dog into the City’s database, among other things. He understands that the city charges the $50 fee to recoup the cost of the time spent by the city employees. However, he said, as he understood it, in subsequent years, re-registering requires only filling out a form, along with the $50 fee. Councilman Bullock proposed removing the fee from renewal registration as he does not believe the fee equals the cost burden to the City.
Council referred the ordinance to the Public Safety Committee to be discussed.
Councilwoman Monique Smith (At-Large) then submitted a letter to the Council and the Administration regarding the basketball court that is being proposed in Lakewood Park. She stated that Council had received a communication from the Mayor informing them that he had agreed to allow the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee (LOBC) to build a basketball court in Lakewood Park. However she said she was concerned that they had not received any sort of plan regarding the court, and also, though she initially understood that LOBC would cover the complete cost of the court installation, that she understands that the City might be paying a portion of the building cost. In her letter she asked the administration to answer a number of questions including:
-What were the original financial commitments of both the City and LOBC?
-What is the total projected cost of the project?
-What is the goal population, who are they attempting to serve?
-Where exactly will the court be located?
-Why was Lakewood Park chosen?
-Why was the specific location chosen?
-How much community input was collected on the location of the court and its impact on surrounding areas?
-What will the hours of operation be?
-How and when will it be supervised?
Councilwoman Smith also asked why this project was chosen as a higher priority than some other improvements or projects that have been requested by the public, Council or are in the Parks Master Plan, and if other private groups will be allowed to submit proposals to build other activity-specific facilities on public land.
Before referring the letter to committee, Councilman Bullock wished to make a few points. He said that Lakewood has 75 acres of parks. That is just over 2% of our city's area, and leaves just about 1.4 acres for every 1,000 residents. That is considered really low. He said because of this we have to make the best of the parkland we have and make it work effectively. In regards to complaints, he said that he thought it was unrealistic in a city as dense as Lakewood to eliminate all issues, but said it is important to work together and find the middle ground. He then pointed out in the Parks Master Plan of 2001, which Councilwoman Smith cited, that the plan includes a basketball court on the site that LOBC court is planning to build on.
Mayor Michael Summers responded saying he thought that they were good legitimate questions and agreed that they should be asked and answered. He continued saying that they were prepared to do so in whichever committee they decided to refer it to.
After the discussion, and hearing from two members of the public on the issue, Council referred the issue to the Committee of the Whole.
Then Police Chief Malley asked Council to consider passing a resolution that would allow the city to accept a grant it has been awarded from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The grant consists of a new MPH Radar Unit that is valued in excess of $1,000. The unit will be installed in one of the City’s marked cars to help in speed enforcement.
Council passed the resolution.
Coming to the end of the agenda items, and with no announcements from members of Council or the administration, Council President Powers adjourned the meeting at 8:35 P.M.