Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

City Council Update for March 4, 2024

Oberlin City Council met Monday for a regular meeting. Council President Eboni Johnson presided over the meeting. All Councilmembers were present. 

After roll call and approving the last public hearing and regular City Council meeting minutes, the Council approved the request for an executive session later that evening to discuss the purchase of real estate. 

Community Hub Presents Updates to Environmental Dashboard

Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology John Petersen, OC ’88, presented an update on the Environmental Dashboard. Petersen is the founder of Community Hub, an Oberlin-based company that develops software for communities and organizations to monitor their water and energy consumption, such as Oberlin’s Environmental Dashboard. The project is funded through the City of Oberlin’s Sustainable Reserve Fund. Since their last progress report from August 2022, Community Hub has made several developments, such as the community calendar featured on the Experience Oberlin website and collaboration with Oberlin City Schools. Emergency alert notifications have been implemented on the Dashboard digital signage. Additionally, the digital signage has been improved and has accompanying interactive controls on a web app that can be accessed through QR codes posted near the Dashboards. 

Columbia Gas of Ohio Informs Community on Gas Main Replacement Program

Public Affairs Manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio, Ben Cutler, presented the 2024 accelerated gas main replacement program for the City of Oberlin. Crews will be replacing about 12,000 feet of old bare steel and cast iron pipes with new plastic piping. Nearly 230 properties will be affected on East College Street between South Pleasant Street and Shipherd Court, North Park Street between East Lorain Street and south of East College Street, and Spring Street between East College and Plum Creek, as well as Clark Court, King Street, Shipherd Court, Caskey Drive, and Stewart Court. Installation of the new mainline will begin in early April. Columbia Gas will also restore any disrupted areas after the project. Cutler assured the Council that Columbia Gas will be proactive in communicating with affected residents. 

City Announces Downtown Strategies Revitalization Plan and Implementation Matrix 

Director of Planning and Development for the City of Oberlin Carrie Porter presented the results of the Downtown Strategies Plan. The Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation hired Downtown Strategies, Inc. to assess downtown Oberlin’s market, policy and administration, design, tourism and promotion, and economic vitality. Following a stakeholders’ input session in November 2022, Downtown Strategies created an implementation matrix to revitalize Oberlin. The implementation matrix offers a five-year timeline with action strategies, summarizing the expected cost and responsible parties. OCIC plans to form action teams to carry out these items. 

Fire Chief Presents Preparations for Solar Eclipse 

Oberlin Fire Chief Robert Hanmer presented on how the City is preparing for the upcoming solar eclipse April 8. Oberlin City Schools will be canceled for the day due to the timing of the eclipse. The city is not hosting any eclipse viewing events; however, Hanmer predicted a population surge of 139,000 to 556,000 people to Northeast Ohio. He added that the weather report the Wednesday before the eclipse will factor into the number of visitors. The influx of people may lead to significant traffic jams and potential gas shortages. The City has ensured there will be portable toilets available. Hanmer emphasized that no one should look at the sun without proper eye protection. He advised local business owners to prepare for the event but not panic and for viewers of the eclipse to arrive at viewing locations early, avoid leaving immediately after the eclipse, and not travel in the interim to avoid traffic. 

Council Rezones First Church to Institutional District

Council voted unanimously to amend the City of Oberlin zoning map, changing the designation of land owned by the First Church in Oberlin. Council also voted unanimously to waive the three-reading requirement to pass the measure on first reading. Located at 106 North Main St., the property was zoned “R-2”/Two-Family Dwelling District and can now be changed to the “I”/Institutional District. This will be the first property zoned with the new “I” institutional district category for various institutional uses such as colleges, schools, churches, libraries, government facilities, and other public spaces and “is intended to accommodate public and semi-public uses.” 

Council Approves Salary for Clerk of Municipal Court 

The Council unanimously passed a resolution to prescribe the annual compensation received by the Clerk of the Oberlin Municipal Court. Council was required to vote on this resolution due to Section 1901.31(C)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code, which outlines that, if the municipal court is in a financial deficit, it is the City Council’s responsibility to approve the clerk’s salary. Council voted to pass this resolution as an emergency measure, and waived the three-reading requirement.

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