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Boston BZA fees going up

4/20/2017 - West Side Leader
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By Brian Lisik

Applicants seeking a zoning variance through the Boston Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) will now be required to foot the bill for a mandated court reporter.

The trustees approved a change in fees at the April 12 meeting.

Currently, fees for advertising associated with the variance request are built into the applicant’s nonrefundable $200 site plan review fee, according to township officials. Having a court reporter present at the hearing has, thus far, been optional and paid for by the applicant if they request the service.

Trustee Chair Amy Anderson said a court reporter should be present at all BZA hearings.

“We need that for protecting ourselves and the applicant,” she said.

The fee increase will be based on an estimated one-and-a-half hour time frame.

Trustee Vice Chairman Randy Bergdorf said the board will research average hourly court reporter pay rates and add that figure to the fee schedule at a later date.

In other business:

  • Following a Feb. 22 decision to add more no-parking signs on Boston Mills Road, trustees agreed to make a request to Summit County officials to create a no-parking zone on Columbia Road, from 0.4 mile west of Riverview Road to 2148 Columbia Road.
    Anderson said she has received complaints from Columbia Road residents regarding drivers parking along Columbia to use nearby hiking trails.
    “One resident said she nearly hit a child who darted out onto the road,” Anderson said.
    She added the township is still waiting for a number of no-parking signs in the Boston Mills Road no-parking zone to arrive and be erected.
  • Trustees and Peninsula Police Chief Joe Varga also discussed the recently enacted 35-mph speed limit on roads inside national parks.
    The statewide law lowering the speed limit was signed into law by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and went into effect April 4.
    Anderson called the change an “ill-conceived concept,” pushed largely by state Sen. Frank LaRose (R-District 27) and Summit County Engineer Al Brubaker. The law applies to national parks that span two or more counties, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP).
    Anderson said the state reduced the speed limit on Riverview Road without consulting the trustees. Trustees reportedly first found out at their Feb. 8 meeting that the speed limit change proposal, formerly House Bill 455, would affect roadways in the township.
    “We had nothing to do with it and got stonewalled when we tried to figure it out,” Anderson said of the speed limit change.
    Bergdorf called the new speed limit “glacially slow.”
    [For more on the speed limit change, see “CVNP speed limit reduced on county roads” in the April 6, 2017, edition or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]
    Trustees also questioned Varga about the state’s newly enacted bicycle law, House Bill 154, which went into effect March 21. The law requires drivers to give cyclists at least 3 feet of space when passing.
    Varga assured trustees his officers would cite both drivers and bicyclists in violation of the law.
    [For more on the new law, see “New law defines ‘safe distance’ when passing bicyclists” in the March 30, 2017, edition or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]
  • Trustee Jerry Ritch asked Zoning Inspector Doug Mayer for an update on the township’s ongoing revisions to its zoning code. 
    “I think when the [zoning regulation] book was designed it was good, but things change,” Mayer said, noting as an example, a section that only requires attached garages be “less than 10 percent” the size of the overall property, which Mayer said could allow for an extremely large structure in some cases.
    “One thing I’ve found is that often you don’t know something is a problem until you come across them,” he said.
  • Anderson complimented Mayer and Road Superintendent Ron Adams on their recent work at Boston Cemetery, including mowing and resetting 12 gravestones.
    “It looks better than it has in years, maybe better than it ever has,” Anderson said.
    The township service department has recently taken over maintenance at the cemetery from former caretakers, the Union Cemetery Association, according to township officials. Adams said the work thus far, estimated to take eight hours, has taken three-and-a-half hours to complete.
  • Anderson updated the board on Valley Fire District calls for March. The department responded to a total of 49 calls.
  • In his buildings and grounds report, Bergdorf said a building scout for a major motion picture has contacted the township to inquire about using Boston Township Hall in an upcoming film.
    “They couldn’t tell who [the film’s star is], but they said it is someone we would know,” Bergdorf said.

The next trustees’ meeting is set for April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Boston Township Hall, located at 1775 Main St. in Peninsula.

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