Hillsboro City Council passed a first reading Monday night on an ordinance making changes to the city’s parking regulations.
Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings introduced the subject during the mayor’s report, saying Hillsboro currently lacks certain criteria for parking within city limits, specifically when it comes to new construction projects.
“This would primarily be for new construction,” Hastings told The Times-Gazette after the meeting. “The problem is we currently have very little parking… and there’s nothing that plans for parking for new construction, either residential or commercial. A builder is barely required to do any parking, so we’ve found a couple situations where we could really get stuck. With this ordinance, parking needs to be a consideration in the overall project.”
Council members Tracy Aranyos and Ann Morris agreed it would be wise for council to use caution when making such changes, rather than having to come back and make amendments to the ordinance later.
“I think we need to be careful not to mess it up,” Morris said.
Hastings told The Times-Gazette he expects changes will be made before the ordinance is fully approved.
Council president Lee Koogler placed the matter into the Street and Safety Committee for further review.
Hastings said plans for placing a fountain on the Highland County Courthouse lawn have been “mired,” but newly hired Hillsboro Safety Service Director Mel McKenzie has been looking into it.
Hastings said McKenzie has been busy in his first few weeks on the job.
Since McKenzie was unable to attend the meeting due to illness, Hastings gave the SSD’s report, saying McKenzie has been engaged with the public, taking complaints and reports on blighted structures and pursuing several other projects around town, such as the Colony Theatre demolition, sewer rehab, trash collection and improvements at Liberty Park.
Hastings said he’s been happy with McKenzie’s performance and energetic approach.
In a meeting of the Finance Committee prior to council’s regular session, finance chairman Dick Donley said letters have been sent to all property owners affected by the North High Pathways Project notifying them of the potential cost of sidewalk installation.
According to city auditor Gary Lewis, the estimated cost of the project is about $315,000, which the city is set to front with budgeted funds.
As reported by The Times-Gazette, North High Street property owners will pay the city back either up front or through property tax assessments.
Lewis said most assessments will be five years, while others may be 10.
Donley said he anticipates bids for the project will be put out at some point this month.
Stephanie Roland of the Highland County Veterans Services Office presented council with a proposal to upgrade the veterans memorial at Liberty Park and move the flagpoles to a different location, citing damage to the memorial and “disrespect” as reasons for the change.
Koogler placed the matter in the Property Maintenance and Restoration Committee for review.
Roland told The Times-Gazette after the meeting she was in attendance purely as a private citizen rather than a representative of the veterans services office.
Koogler also placed maintenance matters regarding the city’s dog park into the Community Enhancement Committee under the care of chair Claudia Klein, who said it’s been brought to her attention that there are disposal issues at the park.
Hastings said the Hillsboro Planning Commission recently discussed extending the deadline for condemnation of 127 W. Josie Street and plans for possible Board of Developmental Disabilities housing projects, and that further developments on those issues will be forthcoming.
Council members Justin Harsha and Bill Alexander were excused.
Council also passed routine financial resolutions.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.