Leetonia council OKs planning work for addition to fire hall

LEETONIA- Village Council Wednesday night granted permission to the EMS department to pursue engineering plans for an addition at the fire hall.

EMS Director Scott Garlough asked council for permission to continue with the project- a room for office and storage space, as well as training- that was cut short for financial reasons approximately three years ago. He said that he will not have an estimated cost until the blueprints are drawn up, but believes the funding is available at this time.

Fiscal Officer Randy Chismar noted that the EMS fund is in much better shape than it was at the start of the project, but said he is reluctant to see the village take on any more debt after paying off several vehicles the past couple years. He suggested waiting for the spring of 2014 for construction.

In other business, council granted permission to volunteer Karli Altomare to pursue a NatureWorks grant for playground equipment at Wick Park. The grant is for $10,279, with the village responsible for $3,516.25.

Council also acknowledged the resignation of dispatcher Jeffery Rober effective March 8.

Also at the meeting, four residents returned to council with concerns regarding a proposed adult group home in the former Presbyterian church at High and Elm streets. More than 30 residents met with the proposed home’s owners last week to discuss the project, voicing concerns at that time about the possible home, which according to village officials is not in violation of any village zoning ordinances.

The residents Wednesday night asked if zoning could be changed so that a similar situation will not arise in the future, considering that there are other buildings in the area that could possibly be turned into group homes. Village Solicitor Walter Newton said that the best option is to limit the concentration of such facilities in an area, suggesting council consider the action.

In response to questions about how the building will be inspected prior to licensing of the facility, Garlough said that the local inspectors only ensure that state regulations are maintained and that the building will only be passed once it is approved by the state.

Council entered executive session at the end of all other business to discuss possible litigation regarding the group home issue.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 20 at Village Hall, preceded by a Zoning Committee meeting at 6 p.m. to discuss tightening village zoning requirements.

Kevin Howell can be reached at khowell@salemnews.net