SALEM -City Councilman Dave Nestic said he'll schedule an Economic Development Committee meeting soon to discuss an incentive program being crafted, but he also wants to open some dialogue on zoning.
More specifically, he said he wants to start some conversations on updating the city's zoning rules and wants to invite Perry Township officials for their input, along with Salem and Green townships since they also border the city, if they're interested.
He serves as chairman of the Economic Development Committee.
"I know people resent the idea of anybody telling them what to do, but it relates to everybody's property values," Nestic said.
With development going forward on the north side and expectations of development on the east side in the future, he said they need to look at what they want that to look like. He wants to discuss ideas and wants some feedback, too.
As an example, he said some of the retail businesses on the east side have the backs of the stores facing the roads. He didn't think that should have been done. Obviously, they can't flip existing buildings around, he said, but they could discuss some ideas for future development.
He said everybody wants the city to be this nice little city, but when people drive around, a lot of these nice little cities have zoning the city of Salem does not have in place.
"I want to come up with some solutions," he said.
Nestic was part of a group which toured the downtown area Monday night to survey the conditions of buildings, parking areas and the general look of downtown in preparation for a possible project to make improvements. He noted that during the tour, they saw city-owned parking lots with weeds 2 or 3 feet high and questioned how they handle situations like that.
He originally announced he wanted to have the Economic Development Committee meeting at 7 p.m. June 12, which is next Tuesday, but said he would check around for another time or date after Councilman Clyde Brown said he already scheduled a meeting for his Second Ward residents at that time.
Councilman Bryan Whitehill noted it was Brown who said previously that council matters should take precedent over other matters when it comes to the use of council chambers. After it was suggested he move his meeting to the first floor conference room, Brown said he had already advertised the meeting in council chambers and was expecting some people to show up.
The time, date and place for the Economic Development Committee meeting will be announced.
In other matters, council approved amending an ordinance dealing with vendors and solicitors, requiring vendors selling food or other items on public or private property during major city events like the Salem Super Cruise to secure a spot license from the organizing group, not from the city itself.
According to Councilman Rick Drummond, who chairs the Rules & Ordinances Committee, the key change to the ordinance dealt with the major events clause to make it clear that a vendor setting up on private property can't circumvent the law or get around paying for a spot license from the sponsoring organization.
The new rule, however, will not affect city residents, businesses or organizations setting up on their private property for personal or organizational profit during major city events. The ordinance had been introduced for a first reading last month, then went to the committee for some tweaking, where the idea of the new rule's affect on residents and other groups who sometimes sell items on their properties came up.
An amendment was made to exempt Salem citizens and private and public organizations, corporations, firms or partnerships within the city limits from the definition of vendor for purposes of the ordinance relating to sales on their properties during major community events.
Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey, a member of the committee, said later she appreciated all the phone calls she received from people regarding that ordinance and said she wants to hear people's opinions.
Council also approved a resolution allowing city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst to sell surplus asphalt grindings that have been piling up from various street and road resurfacing projects. The revenue from the sale will be split between the capital improvement fund and the street construction maintenance and repair fund.
Council authorized the city's inclusion in a homicide task force mutual aid agreement with other communities in the county, aimed at making detectives from each of the participating communities available to the other communities when there's a homicide for the first few days of an investigation.
In a final matter, council approved a resolution commending Barbara Hasson for her dedicated service to the city as deputy auditor from March 24, 1980 to May 31, 2012. Hasson recently retired after 32 years on the job. During pleasure of council, Dickey said she heard nothing but great things about Hasson's dedication from her mother-in-law, former city auditor Fran Dickey. She offered her thanks for Hasson's service to the city.
"She's totally missed," city Auditor Betty Brothers said, adding she appreciated her experience and expertise, but will also miss her friendship in the office.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at email@example.com