Last night’s meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

Dispatch meeting – We held a council meeting jointly with Tallmadge and Cuyahoga Falls. The purpose was to discuss a proposal by the mayors of our three cities to enter into a partnership for dispatch services. The technical term is a COG (or, council of governments). If the COG is adopted, our three cities will use the COG for dispatch services–together with other cities who later choose to join the COG. The joint meeting lasted almost 2.5 hours, with a lot of questions being asked. Before Stow’s council meets next, I’m going to put together a rundown of the proposal, and I’ll post it on this blog.

Fire Department restructuring – Stow’s government is running fairly lean nowadays. But there are always a few areas that can be improved. Last night, we took the first step toward reducing the top-heaviness of the fire department. Chief Stone proposed that council replace the two division chiefs with one assistant chief (paid the same as each division chief). I’m optimistic there will be more reduction at the top in the coming years through attrition.

Medical marijuana moratorium – Stow unanimously passed a one-year pause on medical marijuana dispensaries seeking to open in Stow. As you may have heard, the Ohio legislature passed HB 523, which allows medical marijuana. Although medical marijuana cannot yet be sold in Ohio, a future dispensary could arguably obtain zoning approval. This one-year moratorium prevents that. … I’m not casting judgment on the medical marijuana issue–at all. But I think it’s important to prohibit dispensaries in Stow until we can see what a dispensary will do to the property value of neighboring commercial buildings and residences. Quite possibly, there will be no impact, but I want to be careful on this issue. I don’t see any value in being the first Ohio community to open its doors to a dispensary.

Comprehensive Plan meeting – Often, residents ask about why a certain area has the zoning classification that it does. They will likewise ask why Stow doesn’t have a “downtown.” A lot of those questions are answered by looking at the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is a state-required zoning document that guides future zoning decisions. It gets updated every 10 years. The first meeting to discuss amendments to the Comprehensive Plan will be September 27 at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers. The public is encouraged to join and provide input.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on October 13.