Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Lebanon council goes ahead with Main Street project

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The three-decade fight over how to rebuild Main Street went another round Tuesday night.

        City Council voted 5-2 to seize strips of almost three dozen Main Street yards for the road — a repeat of an ordinance passed 18 months ago that a Warren County judge threw out on a technicality last week.

        Councilmen Mark Flick and Ben Cole voted against the measure.

        Residents vainly pleaded for reconsideration of the Main Street project as proposed by the Ohio Department of Transportation. It will increase truck traffic and bring it closer to their 100-plus-year-old houses, they say.

        “You have lost control over the project,” Marianne Casimir said. “Ask yourself, does ODOT really care about our historic homes?”

        The road work is scheduled to start in 2002, and city officials say any further lawsuits — threatened by opponents — should not delay it.

        Mrs. Casimir and her husband, Gary, a council candidate, filed the successful suit over the 1999 ordinance. Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders found that council failed to read the ordinance aloud and in full, as required by the city charter.

        The city is looking into whether the ruling has implications for other legislation passed in the past 40 years — most after publicly reading only a brief summary.

        Council did, however, get around lengthy readings of ordinances at future meetings by changing the rules of council to have the clerk or a designee read the ordinances at 2 p.m. the day of council meetings. Only Mr. Flick opposed the change.

        “While the charter does say the ordinance must be read on the day of the meeting, it does not say it must be read at the meeting,” City Attorney Mark Flick said.

        Responded Mr. Casimir: “I think you're trying to twist something here.”

        Council also passed 5-2 an ordinance declaring Rottweilers to be vicious dogs that must be confined indoors or in a dog pen or held on a leash. The unlikely duo of Mr. Flick and Councilman James Reinhard voted against it. Mr. Reinhard said before the meeting that viciousness is a matter of training and upbringing, not a dog's species.


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