Residents questions van service

SALEM – A Fourth Street resident aired her concerns regarding a van transportation service she’s noticed in her neighborhood, questioning whether the operators were following city rules.

Kathy DiAntonio raised the issue before Salem City Council Wednesday night, saying there were two full-size vans providing transportation to and from work for what she assumed were Fresh Mark employees.

She questioned whether the rules for a taxi service were being followed and said it’s a safety issue and a liability.

Councilman Brian Whitehill responded that he noticed the van, too, and learned the operator had a permit and the correct registration to run that service.

When contacted Thursday, Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said he believed the van in question was licensed through the city planning and zoning department and has a sticker in the window as required, paid the required city fees and had the vehicles inspected by the police department.

He said he’s heard there may be others providing a similar van transportation service, but if they’re caught without the proper city registration, he said they’ll be cited.

Last summer, city council amended the taxi ordinance to tighten the rules, add requirements for inspections and vehicle markings and add transit vehicles.

In other business, two ordinances dealing with the proposed indoor shooting ranges were tabled pending the outcome of a review of two additional ordinances related to the shooting ranges by the city Planning Commission.

City zoning rules require the proposals to come before the Planning Commission before going back to city council for final approval. The city Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at city hall.

Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey also reported that a proposed ordinance dealing with monitoring for shale drilling sites will be placed on the backburner pending the outcome of an appeal of a similar ordinance in another community. She was told by city Law Director Brooke Zellers that an appeal was pending with the 9th District Court of Appeals.

In his report, Mayor John Berlin offered thanks all around for members of groups involved in recent cleanups downtown, including the Salem Kiwanis who worked on the the municipal parking lots on Second Street and the Salem Beautification Committee which attracted help from numerous groups and the city service department and city worker Doug Moffett for their cleanup throughout the downtown.