Local residents part of Vicious Dog Committee
By John Estridge, Editor
Brookville Town Council discussed a variety of issues Tuesday night, May 22, including a possible vicious dog ordinance, a possible $250,000 grant for sidewalks, Heap Memorial Pool, a public hearing for the town’s proposed amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance, the need to hire contractors to mow delinquent owner lots and the purchase of a new tractor for the streets and parks department.
BTC member Sam Schuck sought and received approval for a committee of local citizens and council members to work out an ordinance concerning vicious dogs.
At the May 8 BTC meeting, concerned citizens talked about an alleged vicious dog problem in the Cliff Street area. The dog has attacked another dog, which was being walked at the time. The owners of the dog who attacked the other dog want their dog back. Council and citizens talked about the need for definitive ordinances concerning vicious dogs.
Schuck said he ran off ordinances from other communities.
“Once an aggressive act has been committed, we need to have something we can enforce,” Schuck said.
Council member Bob O’Bryan said there needs to be a leash law with teeth, meaning there needs to be a fine attached to tickets written on people who allow their dogs to run loose.
Schuck said the Indiana Dog Bite Law states if the landlord has knowledge “of the dangerous propensity of the dog” and does nothing about it, the landlord can be held liable. Schuck said in this instance, the landlord said he did not care what the dog did as long as the people were paying their rent.
According to Schuck, he will contact some local residents about being part of the committee.
Engineer Martin Spees with Fleis & Vandenbrink Engineering Inc. of Indianapolis spoke at length concerning a grant application for the town on a $250,000 Safe Routes to Schools Grant to build sidewalks.
Spees said the deadline for the grant application was due Tuesday, May 29. There is no local match money needed for the program.
If funded, the town would be able to build 2,000 feet of sidewalk that is seven feet wide. Spees said the sidewalk would connect the three schools in the extended Brookville school property: Brookville Elementary, Brookville Middle School and Franklin County High. It would then be in front of the elementary school extending down the hill to the intersection of Oxford Pike and Indiana 101.
It would also go over to Hidden Valley Subdivision following the current sidewalk that connects that subdivision with the school property. All the sidewalk would be ADA which means the steps going to Hidden Valley would be removed.
All of that is considered Phase I. More phases could be added at later dates with subsequent grants, Spees said.
According to its website, Safe Routes to Schools tries to help children with their exercise and reduce carbon emissions.
“Many of us remember a time when walking and bicycling to school was a part of everyday life,” the website states. “In 1969, about half of all students walked or bicycled to school. Today, however, the story is very different. Fewer than 15 percent of all school trips are made by walking or bicycling, one-quarter are made on a school bus, and over half of all children arrive at school in private automobiles.
“This decline in walking and bicycling has had an adverse effect on traffic congestion and air quality around schools, as well as pedestrian and bicycle safety,” it continues. “In addition, a growing body of evidence has shown that children who lead sedentary lifestyles are at risk for a variety of health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Safety issues are a big concern for parents, who consistently cite traffic danger as a reason why their children are unable to bicycle or walk to school.”
Spees said it is estimated it would save 250,000 cars if the children who could walk and ride a bike to school did so.
The town will not know the results of the application until August.
Council vice president Rene Stivers stated the town will hold a public hearing Tuesday, June 12, concerning the town’s proposed amendments to the county’s zoning code. BTC wanted to sit down with the county’s area plan commission and county commissioners in round-table discussion. Officials from both boards declined, stating they would meet with the town in public meetings but would no longer meet behind closed doors in the round-table discussions.
Among the 17 proposed amendments were some that were given an unfavorable recommendation or no recommendation by the APC. Most, if not all, of the proposed amendments that received unfavorable or no recommendations from the APC were voted down by the commissioners.
Some of those in that category include an amendment that would limit the number of indoor pets a person could have at seven. Criticism centered around enforcement and the lack of definition of an indoor pet. The way it reads, according to the APC and commissioners, a person with an aquarium with more than seven fish, would be in violation.
The same argument on enforcement concerned an amendment limiting the number of yard sales and their duration.
Commissioners said they will remove all verbiage on pets and yard sales in the current zoning code because those two subjects are not zoning matters.
Another hot button issue concerns signs. Brookville wants to use the wording from the former zoning code. However, the APC and commissioners note the town is not enforcing that code, and they cannot understand why they want that code put back into place if there is no regulation associated with it.
Tim Ripperger with the utilities department discussed several aspects of the pool. The town agreed to purchase a lift and a pool cover from Recreonics.
Also purchased was up to three tables, four trash cans and a water heater. The latter was purchased from B&R Plumbing for $3,579.
Ripperger said he had talked to a person who has remodeled community pools. He discussed taking out the diving area, making the pool no more than four feet in depth with zero depth at entry and a splash area for the youngsters. It would cost only an estimated $1 million. Council members had a good laugh.
Schuck also discussed foreclosed properties around town and the need to keep them mowed and trimmed this summer. Town attorney Brenda Wilhelm-Waggoner was instructed to send letters to the property owners of record.
According to Schuck, the town parks and street department does not currently have the time for the mowing and trimming on these properties, so Schuck was given permission to seek quotes from independent contractors to do those properties.
BTC President Mike Biltz was concerned if the street department did the work, people would question why the town was working on private property. Schuck said he did not think that would be a problem; however, there has personnel shortages with the street and parks department.
Brent Riehle, head of the parks and street department, recommended the purchase of a Kubota tractor from Zimmer Tractor for $13,174, and council agreed.
The next BTC meeting will be 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, at the administration building in the 1020 Franklin Avenue.
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