City council approves zoning change for Galion City Schools campus

Change paves way for new bus garage, future construction

By Erin Miller

Galion Inquirer

GALION — Galion City Council held it’s first meeting of 2018 Tuesday.

Prior to the beginning of planned legislation for the evening, a public hearing was held regarding the creation of an Educational Services District for the campus of Galion City Schools.

“The schools are improperly zoned,” stated Thomas Palmer, Galion’s Director of Law. “The action of creating an Educational Services District will allow the schools to do what is needed on their property without approaching the city for a correction to zoning problems every time a plan is made.”

Simply put, when the new school buildings were planned out in 2007, the city leadership at that time didn’t process the transfer of the land properly.

“This action corrects mistakes left unchanged from when the schools were built ten years ago,” Palmer continued. “We did the same process with Avita, and all legalities are consistent with current zoning codes.”

As a show of support and solidarity with the city, many members of the Galion City Schools board of education were in attendance at the city council meeting, including Superintendent Jim Grubbs.

“We are very appreciative of the willingness of Mr. Palmer and city council to help Galion City Schools in this area,” Grubbs said during the hearing. “We are ready to move on with our projects and make Galion a better place.”

At the conclusion of the hearing, there were three ordinances and two resolutions on the council agenda for the evening.

The first Ordinance No. 2018-1 was moved to a final reading and concerned the setting of Clerk of Council Julie Bell’s job duties and pay. The ordinance passed unopposed.

Ordinance No. 2018-3 was presented to council for the establishment of the Educational Services Zoning District as discussed during the public hearing earlier in the meeting.

A motion was made to move the ordinance to its final reading in order to help the schools to get their plans in order for the coming spring/summer construction months. This motion brought about a concern by 1st Ward council member Bill Comerford, who represents most of the residents who will be affected by any upcoming plans the school may have.

“I just want to be sure that residents in my ward still have time to voice concerns or opinions on this matter if the ordinance moves forward this quickly, but I also don’t wish to hinder our schools in any way,” Comerford said.

Palmer explained that there are still many steps to this process, and residents would be able to express concerns or ask questions throughout the process.

At that time, Grubbs once again spoke to say that Comerford or anyone else could refer residents with questions to him at the district office and he would be happy to speak to them personally as he has done with other property owners close to the school campus.

With that understanding, the ordinance was moved to a final reading and was passed by members of council.

“We have no intention of hurting the property values of surrounding homes, “Grubbs stated. “We see the advancement of our school district as a way to improve the appeal of our town.”

Tuesday’s meeting was the first for new council members Tammy Siclair-Erlsten and Mike Richart.

Contact Erin Miller at [email protected] or 419-468-1117 x-2049.