During Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council meeting, it was decided to table an ordinance regarding “skilled gaming” to allow more time for further discussion outside the regular council meetings.
The tabled ordinance, if passed as is, would adopt a recommendation from the City Planning Commission to amend the zoning code of the General Employment District (GE) to allow a conditional use for skilled gaming.
In a prior council meeting, when the ordinance was placed on first reading, the recommendation included input from Rod Bryant, the code enforcement officer.
As previously reported and according to minutes from the corresponding city planning commission meeting, the issue to list “skilled gaming” as a permitted or conditional use in a designated zoning district was brought to the planning commission by Hitesh Shaw.
Shaw described the skilled gaming usage he desired for a new business, but stated that most property owners want to see where the city allows that particular type of business activity prior to discussing rental space.
As for the gambling aspect of the potential new business, Shaw explained a card must be used to play the games and that all winnings would go back onto the card—expanding play-time, and there would be no cash payout.
The minutes further explain that with a conditional use, situations can be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
During a prior council meeting, Denen explained there is currently nothing in the code to address skilled gaming nor anything substantially similar to skilled gaming. According to Denen and City Attorney Mark Pitstick, a legal business must be provided with a zoning code designation.
One of the reasons for tabling this ordinance was due to council member Caleb Johnson saying he had an idea for addressing concerns related to skilled gaming. Also part of the tabling was due to resident Mary Estle speaking to council and explaining her opposition to skilled gaming as it could create gambling addictions.
Estle also addressed council about the condition of her street — Ely Street — and said she wanted to remind them about the issues.
“I invite all of you to come down Ely Street, turn around in my driveway, and see that glorious mountain that we get to see everyday. It’s very disgusting. Also, one of the biggest problems right now that we have had is the dust that comes over,” said Estle.
She further explained that her household got a newer car and, when people get newer cars, they like to keep it clean. Even though they keep their car in the garage “most of the time,” keeping the car clean hasn’t been possible, according to Estle, due to this dust.
Two resolutions were placed on second reading and were then adopted. The resolutions create a contract to lease city land for farming to two different individuals.
The first time legislation is seen and approved by council it is placed on a first reading, and the second time on a second reading. Adoption of resolutions can occur once they have been placed on second reading. Adoption of ordinances can occur once they have been placed on third reading.
The first contract is for land located at State Route 753 and Robinson Road for five years to Jayson Beekman of Beekman Farms. The bid accepted for this contract is $171 per acre for approximately 25 tillable acres—totaling approximately $4,431.23 per year.
The second contract is for land located at 1675 Old Chillicothe Road for five years to Anthony Pursell. The bid accepted for this contract is $171.55 per acre for approximately 49 tillable acres—totaling approximately $8,452.27 per year.
One ordinance was placed on second reading. If passed, the ordinance would request the Civil Service Commission to establish a process allowing the lateral transfer of police officers and firefighters to the city departments from other jurisdictions. City Manager Joe Denen would also be authorized to select candidates for police officer and/or firefighter positions from a current eligibility list or a lateral transfer list.
As for new legislation, there were eight new resolutions heard and placed on first reading.
The first resolution, if passed, would authorize Denen to award a contract to Cox Paving for the 2021 street and alley paving program.
Discussion occurred briefly about another company that had bid on the project and whether it had been considered or not.
According to council chairperson Jim Chrisman, Cox Paving had the lower bid and not accepting the lower bid can open the door to lawsuits.
The second resolution, if passed, would authorize Denen to enter into a contract with Vermeer for the purchase of a Vermeer Vactron Vacuum Excavator.
The third resolution, if passed, would authorize a contract with Baxla Tractor for the purchase of a powerstar utility tractor.
The fourth and fifth resolutions, if passed, would authorize two contracts with Ohio CAT — one for the purchase of a Caterpiller High Flow Loader and one for the purchase of a Caterpillar Backhoe.
The sixth and seventh resolutions, if passed, would authorize two contracts with John Deere and Company — one for the purchase of a John Deere Gator and one for the purchase of three Ztrac Lawn Mowers.
The eighth resolution, if passed, would authorize an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the purchase of a Bulk Highway Rock Salt.
Council member Steve Shiltz asked how the current supply of salt is and if any was left over from the winter season.
Denen explained that there was salt left over to go toward next season.
During closing comments, several council members encouraged getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Council member Dale Lynch provided a favorite quote as he does every council meeting. The quote, according to Lynch, was from a pastor named Crawford Loritts and is as follows:
“When you’re born, you look like your parents. When you die, you look like your choices.”
Washington Court House City Council meetings are located in the second floor council chambers of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main Street. The meetings are added to the YouTube channel “City of Washington Court House, Ohio” at www.youtube.com/channel/UCRwMxUBn8XIQTjnSvFaGDgA. As of April, meetings will be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month at 7:30 p.m.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.