By Amantha Garpiel
TIPP CITY — The Tipp City City Council passed an ordinance modifying the city’s Code of Ordinances to add a definition establishing flex buildings.
The ordinance passed during the council’s Monday, May 1, meeting was initially tabled from the April 17 meeting and was scheduled to be further discussed among council at a future study session. The ordinance was not initially on the agenda for the May 1 meeting but was added through a motion made by council member Robert Schwab to amend the agenda.
The modification allows for the construction of flex buildings in areas zoned as highway business or light industrial. Flex buildings in light industrial zones are required to have a maximum of 40% retail space, 60% storage or warehouse space. In highway business zones, flex buildings are required to have a minimum of 20% retail, 80% storage or warehouse space. This modification to the codes also includes no limit to the number of units in a building and no limit on the number of loading docks a flex building can have. These flex buildings will still have strict architectural standards to adhere to when building.
The ordinance passed in a 4-3 vote with Council President Kathryn Huffman and members Ryan Liddy and Joanna Pittenger voting against the ordinance.
“We just got done discussing doing a comprehensive plan of our town with the CIC. The point of that is control,” said Liddy. “This would alleviate control. There would be less control for us in those prime real estate spots. I’m not necessarily against putting these, and I understand that this came about because they want to build on Donn Davis Way and I’m not even necessarily against that, I simply think it’s too expansive to include the small amount of Highway Business and the small amount of light industrial that we currently have.”
“Again, we just got done talking about control over the uptown area to develop it in a plan that we see fit, that we want to see happen. This would alleviate that. It would be another chip at our control. I would much rather keep that control and do it lot by lot or zone by zone. That’s my thought,” said Liddy.
“Looking at the map and realizing how much of the city is affected by this, is not something that we’re looking at in our discussions in terms of developing that area that the CIC is becoming focused on,” said Huffman. “Again, I don’t think that having it in a limited area and looking at the other options that we do have in order to allow for projects like this is a bad idea, but that’s not what we have in front of us tonight. In front of us tonight is something that changes the zoning for a significant amount of the city, it’s city-wide. And once this is enacted you can’t deny those projects and so we can’t pick and choose and we lose a lot of the structure and control we have in planning for what we want to see in the community.”
The Donn Davis Way property owner, Tim Logan, attended the meeting to share that flex buildings are a part of “the new retail.” Logan states that this type of retail allows for customers to shop in the store or online.
Liddy reminded council and the public that this ordinance is not only in regard to the Donn Davis Way, but about the whole city.
“Again, we can’t just look at that one project, we have to take into consideration the impact to the entire city, and that is why I’m voting no,” said Liddy.
“I would state that just about every business that we’ve currently got here in town, is a type of a flex building. Half of their building is used for storage of product to be put out on the shelves,” said Mayor Mike McFarland. “This is just an enhanced version of every business we’ve got here in town.”
“This is an enhanced way of trying to get all of that property around Menards and other things to get started in this town,” said Council member Douglas Slagel. “And the more we shut it down, the more people take notice.”
“This is one of the ways we can help try to move this forward,” said Slagel.
During the meeting, council passed three resolutions. The first resolution passed at Monday’s meeting is a resolution to allow employer contributions to staff health savings accounts for the insurance plan year from Sept. 1, 2023, to Aug. 31, 2024. The second resolution approves the City Manager Timothy Eggleston entering into a contract with Perram Electric of Wadsworth for the 2023 Signal Improvement Project for a cost of $305,500. The third resolution passed allows Eggleston to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education to provide two full-time school resource officers. The MOU agrees that the City of Tipp City is responsible for the salary and benefits of the two SROs during the three months of summer while the school is responsible for the salaries and benefits for nine months, during the school year. The cost is estimated to be $30,000 per officer for the city.
In other business:
• Council approved an ordinance that amends and updates the pay scale for temporary/seasonal employees. The ordinance was declared an emergency and treated as a second reading.
• Council heard a first reading of an ordinance to change the zoning of 30 German St. from a two-family residential to multi-family residential zoning classifications.
• Council heard a first reading for two ordinances regarding amendments to the water and sewer rates and regulations. The amendments would include eliminating the multi-unit multiplier and raising the citizens’ rates by 1% to cover the loss of revenue.