Council spars over signs

VANDALIA — The Vandalia City Council approved new signage for Joseph Airport Toyota on Monday night, but not before intense debate along familiar lines.

At issue were three signs at the auto dealership on National Road. The business had requested a variance to replace the three signs with signs of the same type and size but with upgraded LED lighting. Per city code, since the signs were already nonconforming due to their size, they could not be changed without being brought into compliance with sign regulations.

Council Member Richard Herbst wanted to hold the dealership to the letter of the law.

“Over the years, I don’t believe we have been enforcing the code as we should,” said Herbst. “That is what has brought us to this point where we have to discuss all these signs because we are not enforcing our current sign and zoning code. At some point we need to decide are we going to enforce our zoning code or change it?”

Council Member Dave Gerhard agreed that the code needs to be changed in order to liberalize it and make it more business-friendly. He said that in his 13 years on city council, no citizen has ever complained about a sign.

“I understand the code, I understand the variances,” said Gerhard. “(They) are simply wanting to lift one sign off and replace it with another. They are a good corporate citizen of Vandalia and I have no issue with granting the variance. I think our code needs to be a little more allowing to allow people to replace their existing signs without having to ask for variances.”

Each sign required a separate vote. The first was approved 6-0 with the stipulation that the dealership place brick or stone veneer at the base. The second sign was approved with the same stipulation on a 5-1 vote with Herbst against, and the third sign was approved as presented on the same 5-1 vote.

Mayor Arlene Setzer was absent from the meeting.

Watch video of the meeting here:

The council also voted to participate in the purchase of a new Regional Emergency Response Team (RERT) vehicle to be shared between Vandalia, Huber Heights, Fairborn and Beavercreek.

Those cities have been part of the RERT since 2000 and includes approximately 26 tactical members and trains eight hours per month. The team has been deployed 97 times since its inception with 11 of those being in Vandalia.

The purchase will use $98,537 in federal funds and $246,343 of local funds divided between the four cities. Vandalia’s approximately $37,000 share will come from unexpended capital funds in the Safe & Stable Fund.

Other items approved by the council included:

  • Authorized a 2.5 percent bonus payment, or $3,000, to City Manager Jon Crusey as the result of his annual performance review.
  • Authorized Crusey to enter into an agreement an electrical retail provider for the city’s electrical costs. Over the past two years the city has saved approximately $100,000 annually due a contract with negotiated by the Miami Valley Communications Council on behalf of 22 municipalities. That contract expires December 31, 2016.
  • Approved a contract for design and specifications for the Airport Access Road bridge deck repair to LJB, Inc. at a cost of $14,650.
  • Approved a replat of three lots at the southwest corner of National Road and Waller Ave. to create one lot to accommodate the construction of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store.
  • Approved a replat of two lots on the east side of Dixie Dr. across from Mulberry Road into one 3.8305 acre parcel at 1728 S. Dixie.
  • Declared seven body armor vests as surplus and donated them to the Sinclair Community College Criminal Justice Training Academy for training purposes.
  • Adopted the Boards, Commissions, and Committees Handbook with the provision that references to variance standards would be removed for further consideration.
  • Approved a financial contribution to the Historical Society of Vandalia-Butler of $15,000 for maintenance related projects.
  • Approved three ordinances in their second reading that

The council also passed three ordinances that eliminated the Employee Relations Board, the Human Relations Commission, the Youth Soccer Commission, the Vandalia Youth Baseball/Softball Commission, and the Insurance Review Committee. The Boards and Commissions were deleted due to their obsolescence and/or disuse.

  • Approved two ordinances that remove references to the City Engineer and changes the duties of the Director of Public Service due to the elimination of the City Engineer position during the 2016 budget process.
  • Updated the city’s solar panel regulations in the city code.
City Manager receives annual bonus

By Darrell Wacker


Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.