Plain City enacting noise ordinance, marijuana ban

By Andrea Chaffin -

Plain City may soon have a noise ordinance on the books for the first time.

Village council recently introduced legislation to ban “excessive” noise, specifically during the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Excessive will not be measured by decibels, but by what someone of “ordinary sensibilities” would consider “unreasonable” or “unnecessary,” the law states.

Exceptions during daytime hours include sounds from school or village-sponsored events, construction, trash trucks, emergency response sirens, parades and home maintenance equipment, such as lawn mowers and air compressors.

Council agreed to look into enacting a noise ordinance after hearing a complaint from a Washington Avenue resident last November who said he can hear his neighbor blasting music from blocks away.

The police department has responded to the property several times, but has no leverage to charge the man, according to Chief Dale McKee, who said at the time he was in favor of the law.

The only noise ordinance the village currently has in place is banning jake braking.

Initial violation of the ordinance is a minor misdemeanor; repeated violation is up to a third-degree misdemeanor.

Council unanimously passed a first reading of the ordinance.

In other business at last Monday’s meeting:

• Council approved an ordinance to ban the sale, processing and cultivation of medical marijuana within village limits. It passed 4-2, with council members Nick Kennedy and Leslie Perkins voting no.

• Legislation was introduced amending the village’s leash law. The change states that residents must keep their dogs on a leash at all times on public property in the village, including Pastime Park. The change was pursued following complaints of owners allowing their dogs to run free in the park.

• Uptown property owner Eric Medici addressed council with his concerns over how another property owner, Jason Shumway, is renovating his historic building.

Shumway recently purchased two downtown buildings: the former Plain City Pub, which he is renovating into Tavern 161, and a building on North Chillicothe Street.

Medici said Shumway is planning a modern exterior for his building, which he said takes away from its historical value. Medici also questioned the village’s current law regarding building demolition. As long as there is an engineer’s letter stating a building can be torn down, that is adequate, he said.

“I wouldn’t want to see any buildings disappear,” he said, asking for more steps to be put in place.

Shumway defended his decisions, saying that “the majority of buildings in uptown are in need of repair,” while others are “beyond their repair life.”

“I can build something with historic flair for one-third the cost of renovation,” he said.

Shumway said if major structural work is not performed, the building risks falling down.

“It’s the only way for the village to grow,” he said.

• Village attorney Paul-Michael Lafayette said the village is considering taking a local property owner to court for contempt following years of the grass going unmowed.

The village has been having problems with 307 Gay St. for 10 years, he said. The owner doesn’t take care of the property, so the village mows it and accesses the cost on the taxes. The property owner has consistently paid the fees.

“They treat it like the Village of Plain City lawn care services,” Lafayette said.

Previously, there was a court order for the property owner to mow the lot, but the owner has been unresponsive for the last few years, he said.

“Enough is enough,” he said, noting that the property has a hole in the roof and is infested with raccoons.

• Council held a first reading on an ordinance to make changes to the village’s water billing procedures.

If a resident’s water has been shut off, the village will require the full bill to be paid before turning water back on, said village administrator Kevin Vaughn.

The village will also no longer give credits on any sewer charges for residents filling pools. More than $1,500 was being written off each month with some residents claiming to have filled pools when they didn’t own any, Vaughn said.

By Andrea Chaffin

Reach Andrea Chaffin at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619, and on Twitter @AndeeWrites.

Reach Andrea Chaffin at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619, and on Twitter @AndeeWrites.