Marietta City Council pulled three parking ordinances off the table and approved them Thursday evening after a public hearing about proposed changes to the city’s disturbing the peace ordinance.
Ordinances 90, setting a maximum of 72 hours for a vehicle to remain parked on any public street or right of way without being moved at least 75 feet; 91, a 20-minute parking limit on curbside spaces where parking meter heads have been removed in Zone A; and 92, a two-hour parking limit for curbside spaces where parking meter heads have been removed in Zone B; were brought off the table by unanimous votes. Each then passed on 6-1 votes, with Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf opposed.
Multiple people spoke in the public hearing on an ordinance that would push the starting time for the city’s disturbing the peace ordinance from 11 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The limit was already changed to that time for four dates for this summer’s Townhouse Outdoor Concert Series.
“The festivals downtown are allowed to go that long,” said Nathan Matheny, with the Townhouse. “There’s a lot of people down there, wanting to have fun.”
Downtown resident and business owner Ari Gold said he felt the change was unnecessary.
“Eleven is already very late,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to allow loud music until midnight.”
Two anonymous letters opposing the measure were read into the record by Council Clerk Jennifer Thomas, with one writer saying they were already considering moving out of downtown because of the noise from concerts.
But Marietta resident Cameron Fouss said he doesn’t believe pushing the start time back an hour would affect many people and expanding entertainment options is a way to attract younger people. Folks looking at moving into the downtown area know it’s a commercial district, he said.
“If you don’t want any noise, then there’s Whipple and Lower Salem and Waterford,” Fouss said.
Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to suspend the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area regulations from 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 9-10, the first two nights of the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival. The festival committee sought the suspension of the rules allowing for the sale of open, to-go alcoholic beverages in the designated zone.
“The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival has always been an alcohol-free, family friendly festival,” committee member Kathy Shively said. “Adding intoxication onto our festival grounds could create additional safety concerns.”
She added that the revenue the event brings into the city would more than offset any money lost by businesses unable to sell the to-go drinks during that time.
A motion to suspend the second and third readings of the ordinance received only five votes, with six required for passage. Shoaf and Councilman Bill Gossett voted against.
“We would like to have more of the public input on it,” said Shoaf, adding she was undecided on how she would vote for the ordinance itself. It will be up for second reading at council’s Aug. 18 meeting.
Washington County Commissioner Jamie Booth told council members that efforts have been made to address increasing costs on the Buckeye Fields project, which would construct 64 modular housing units for low-income seniors near the Washington County Home. But cash on hand is required by the purchasers of tax credits to fund the project, so $500,000 in ARPA funds have been requested, half from the county and half from the city.
In exchange, Booth said, Buckeye Fields would pay $12,000 in lieu of taxes each year, which would also be split by the city and county. There would be an additional $12,000 for additional phases added in the future, he said.
“This payment would run with the property in perpetuity,” Booth said.
Council will meet as the Committee of the Whole at 5:15 p.m. Monday to conduct additional interviews for the new council clerk, Council President Susan Vessels said. Thomas was presented with a gift and thanked for her three-and-a-half years of service.
Evan Bevins can be reached at email@example.com.
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