The Village of Swanton will not seek an injunction to stop Norfolk Southern’s staging yard at this time, village solicitor Alan Lehenbauer told the audience at last Monday’s council meeting. He said that the village’s outside counsel recommended against it.
“We have looked further and tried to assess whether we can take any action,” said Lehenbauer. “At this point in time, we don’t believe that it would be in our best interest to pursue any kind of injunction.”
Four residents spoke out against the staging yard and asked the Village Council to be more open about what is being done to fight the project.
“We want you to fight this. We don’t want you to play nice. Nice isn’t going to stop this,” said resident Catherine Gee-Robinson in regards to a meeting between village and Norfolk Southern officials.
Village resident Nicholas Cole reiterated the request for transparency, saying the rumors about the project are spreading because of the lack of communication.
Resident and former councilman Deacon Dzierzawski agreed saying, “The worst communication is no communication.”
Members of council said there are legal concerns that prevent them from being more open about the actions the village is taking or considering.
“I would love to be transparent. I really would. Ok. But with the legalities that everyone is under, I would hate for me to say something that would jeopardize it,” said councilman Jeff Pilliod. “I don’t want (the staging yard). I do not want it. I’ll make that statement.
“But when it comes to the attorney, they’re in there and telling us we have to be careful what we say. We’ve got a public out here that’s just eating us up, wanting the transparency. I’d love to tell you folks, I really would.”
In what appears to be a response to resident requests for transparency, there will be a special Committee of the Whole meeting today (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. Outside legal counsel, Jeff Stopar, will make a presentation in matters related to real estate, including the staging yard.
• The administrator recommended that the salaries of three village employees be increased above the new minimum salary for exempt employees that goes into effect Dec. 1. The salaries of the fiscal officer, chief of police and superintendent of public service operations would need to be increased to comply with the FLSA guidelines.
A future ordinance will need to be approved by council.
• Mayor Ann Roth read proclamations for Red Ribbon Week and the 40th anniversary of Fessenden Hardware.
• Council approved, by emergency, updates to codified ordinances. They included ordinances dealing with youth curfew, barking dogs, distributing handbills and soliciting for donations.
The village has been working with American Legal Publishing to update its Codified Ordinances. One of the aspects of this is to look at current ordinances and ensure that they are still compliant.
• Hoelzle gave an update on the Clark Street sewer separation project. She said that work is progressing but there have been many setbacks.
Old and fragile water lines have delayed work on Clark Street. In addition, multiple lines were not located where drawings said they would be.
Clark Street separation was complete and Franklin St., Chestnut St., and East St. Clar Street were expected to be completed last week. Pennsylvania Avenue should be done soon. Bassett will be last and should be completed by the second week of November.
Paving will begin on Clark Street and is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving, according to Hoelzle.
• The Airport Highway and Munson Road traffic study was discussed. The study showed that a left turn lane on Airport Highway was warranted but a traffic light was not. Village officials will meet with ODOT for the next steps.
• Robert Bolling gave a presentation to council seeking a sidewalk on Crestwood Drive between Church Street and Crestwood Elementary School. He cited the danger of kids in grades K-2 having to walk in the street to get to school.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise