B y Jaime Thomas
Though they may be tasty for eating and good for you, chickens are not welcome to reside in the village.
The village board rejected an appeal from Rob Therriault to keep chickens at his Pacific Street residence during a meeting Monday night. By village law, chickens are considered to be exotic animals and the keeping of them within the village is banned.
Mayor Brian LaRose said the village’s ordinance officer had requested the chickens in question be removed, but the constituent, Therriault, refused. Therriault told the officer his realtor, Rebecca Dittmeier of Country Horizon Real Estate, had told him he would be allowed to harbor the animals when he purchased his home.
When contacted Tuesday Dittmeier denied having told Therriault he could keep chickens in the village. “I know absolutely that you can’t have chickens in the village, I wouldn’t have told him that he could,” Dittmeier said.
During the meeting at which Therriault was not present, three of his neighbors spoke up against there being such animals on their street.
“The chickens are a nuisance, plus they’re going to smell in the summer. The law is there for a reason,” Kevin Zellars said, and two other residents made similar statements.
The resounding theme of ‘the law is the law’ echoed among board members and constituents alike. Village trustees agreed that there is a reason that law was put in place many years ago.
“I think when we look at an issue like this, and looking down the road at all animals that could be harbored here, we need to go by the law,” LaRose said. “The consensus of the board is to deny the appeal.”
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Mike Norton addressed the board on the subject of teenagers straying from the rail trail near his house by the Slate Valley Museum.
Norton said he called the police many times last spring and summer to complain about the youths going on the lawn next to the entrance to the trail and the bridge.
“I try to keep my place nice, and I don’t want to see the grass ripped up by these kids,” Norton said. However, Police Chief Ernie Bassett said there is no legal action for the village to take.
“I don’t know how you can sign off on it and suggest that it’s okay,” Norton said, and he suggested the village build a fence along the trail to keep cyclists on it.
But Dan Williams, superintendent of public works, thought a fence would both encourage the youth to hang out and sit on it and make maintenance more difficult for village employees. Norton replied that he was fine with the teenagers spending time in the area, he simply did not want them bicycling off the trail and destroying property.
LaRose said the board has been searching for a solution to the matter.
“If it appears that we’ve been dragging our feet, that was not our intention. We will continue to look into it,” he said.
Tree Trimming Policy
Recent wind storms at the end of December led the board to create a village tree trimming policy.
The policy they have devised will require the village to trim or cut down any tree or branches that are in the right of way of the village, which essentially includes the area between the sidewalk and the street.
Any tree that is deemed dangerous and falls on this right of way is considered to be the responsibility of the village.
Williams recently looked at various trees with a tree expert and determined that some were dangerous enough to require removal. During the meeting, the board selected Johnson Tree service to remove a tree on Prospect Street, because the company gave a significantly lower bid, of $750, than two other competing companies.
Budget and trustee reelection
As the board gets ready to begin its budget process for the upcoming year, Clerk Rick Roberts suggested the village consider a slight increase in taxes, rather than a large increase down the line.
“Sometimes when we can look back on history, it gives us an idea on how we’re doing in the present,” Roberts said. Since 2001, he said the biggest increase was less than 4 percent, and in general the board stays in the 1 to 3 percent range.
During the meeting, the board appointed Nancy Hughes and Dorothy Roberts as election inspectors for the March 19 election. As it stands, Trustees Frank Caruso and Gordon Smith’s terms will be up, and they are running unopposed.
Those interested in running for the trustee positions must turn in their bids, along with 50 signatures, by Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.
Debris on Main Street
Many people are wondering about it, and John Norton spoke about the pile of debris left on Main Street after the Nov. 12 fire.
He mentioned the “awful mess” and asked if an ordinance officer could take care of the issue and force the owners to clean it up.
“Main Street is bad enough without that pile of junk,” Norton said.
Village officials explained to Norton that they have been doing everything in their power to help the situation progress. They said insurance is standing in the way of removing the pile, and the building owners have to wait until everything is cleared before they can take action.
If they hired someone to clean the site without it being deemed clear of asbestos and settling insurance claims, they could be held liable, LaRose said.
Norton also asked if the village could get in touch with the state regarding holes in Main Street and Quaker Street. Williams said he would try to get a hold of the state about the issue.
As far as the issue surrounding the removal or replacement of trees along Main Street, Norton recommended the village contact the Arbor Day Foundation to get started.
Officials told Norton the Granville Chamber of Commerce is working on what to do about those trees, but as of yet no decision has been made.
At the end of his comment, Norton also commended the village on the ice skating rink employees set up in the Little League Park. He thought it was being run very well.