NEWTON FALLS Council sets aside meetings ordinance

Streetscape ordinances were moved to another reading.
NEWTON FALLS -- Council has tabled indefinitely an ordinance that would establish rules and procedures for council meetings.
Residents have been up in arms over an ordinance that would change the city charter. One aspect that does not sit well with some residents is what they think is an attempt to limit the scope of their comments.
Under the ordinance, public comment at the end of meetings would be limited to items not listed as old or new business.
Taking sides
Councilmen Thomas McKee, Ralph Gillespie, and L. Robert Irwin supported the ordinance at an April 1 meeting. Steve Stevens and Harry Benetis opposed it.
One resident, Bud Fetterolf, remained adamant at Monday's council meeting.
"You all have a copy of the city charter. I would suggest you read it very carefully with an attorney and see what the procedure is for removing a councilman from office. If you pass this, remember that you, as an individual, will be held responsible," he said.
Fetterolf led a citizens group that said three councilmen failed to represent them. As a result of recall drives in 1992, Councilmen James Langley and Terrance Mohan were ousted.
"Because of the way the public speaks to us, no one wants to run for council, leaving most of us unopposed. That's why most of us have been in office so long." Gillespie said.
Broad Street project
Three ordinances to modify the method by which assessments for the Broad Street Redevelopment project will be calculated were moved to a second reading.
Residents and shop owners in the Broad and Canal street area were to be charged a portion of the cost of improvements in the project commonly referred to as "streetscape," estimated at $300,620. The amount would be assessed by amount of front footage of each property, to be paid over 15 years.
Mayor Patrick D. Layshock said he does not see himself as a naysayer on the project; he wants only to see proof of possible financial returns. He doesn't want just a beautification project.
"I have not seen or heard facts as to how this will benefit Newton Falls," he said.
Rezoning tabled
An ordinance rezoning 11.75 acres on West Broad Street, owned by Gilbert L. Rieger and Jerry Carleton, was tabled for further discussion at the May 6 meeting.
Residents on the west side, where a multifamily housing unit is being considered, have circulated a petition to stop construction.
Council also announced that at its May 6 meeting, it will interview candidates to replace Harry Benetis, who resigned from council Friday for personal reasons.

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