Alcohol policy, paving and noise issues addressed by Culver Council

Culver's Town Council last week navigated several controversial topics and also agreed to assist in investigating the question of making transportation more available to local seniors via the Marshall County Council on Aging.

Representing the Aging Council was Jackie Wright, who discussed the organization's transportation offerings for senior citizens throughout the county (as detailed recently in The Culver Citizen) and the possibility of expanding hours and days the agency could be available for Culver residents, at the request of Jeanette Geiselman, assistant site director at the Culver branch of REAL Services.

The County Council on Aging, said Wright, currently comes to Culver on Wednesdays only.

"It's a chicken and egg type of thing," she said. "We don't have a lot of people currently using it, but we could increase that. You're building a new Garden Court (senior living facility, so the need may increase)...if you show enough need, we can provide the service, but it has to be more than Jeanette or our agency championing that. It has to be the whole community embracing that."

Presently, the Council on Aging offers transportation to medical-related appointments out of town for free, by appointment, and to anywhere within Culver on Wednesdays for $1 each way. The number to call the Plymouth-based agency for a ride is 866-936-9904.

Town Council President Ginny Munroe suggested a survey be undertaken to determine the level of interest among Culver residents, something Town Clerk Casey Howard will look into.

In other discussion, Council members agreed to uphold a ticket written to Crystal Moore, manager of the Marmont Grill in Culver, by Culver police under the town's noise ordinance. Moore said she wasn't told of the noise ordinance until a week before the citation was written, over a weekend in May, and that she thought the noise was under control at the establishment. Larry Boine, the DJ that evening, said he's been in business for ten years and knew he had the volume of his music at an acceptable level.

Several Council members, as well as Culver Police Chief Wayne Bean, noted a number of complaints have been made about noise levels at the restaurant in the past, with Munroe noting some leeway might be given for unusual circumstances such as Lake Fest weekend in Culver.

Discussion became heated at times -- and one resident left the meeting with an angry outburst -- over curbing installed on South Ohio Street as part of a large repaving project -- which also will involve replacement of sidewalks -- on that street.

Residents of three properties disputed placement of curbing during the project, specifically citing difficulty in parking in their driveways without risking damage to their vehicles or driving onto neighbors' property. Munroe, who with Street Supervisor Bob Porter was given discretion by Council at the previous meeting to examine disputed properties on a case-by-case basis, said the town would not get into property line disputes, but instead expected residents to provide documented evidence of property lines when neighbors can't agree.

A ban on open alcoholic beverages and their consumption in public places in Culver became official when the Council passed ordinance 2011-005 on second and third readings. The new law was enacted at the suggestion of Chief Bean due to an ongoing problem with drinking on sidewalks and streets outside establishments, and in other public areas.

Council voted, with members Lynn Overmyer and Sally Ricciardi opposed, to rezone properties west of South Main Street, surrounding the new Garden Court development there, as R2, which allows construction of multi-family units there. Discussion had taken place over several past meetings over the matter, with some expressing concern at overdevelopment in the area, and others noting any development will require approval by various local entities on a case-by-case basis, and could provide lower-cost housing in the town.

Munroe, Porter, and Howard will initiate communication with Culver Academies towards an agreement on how the town will take sewer meter readings relating to the Academies' outflow, when the town's meter goes down as it did for several days recently due to wiring problem. Council member Ralph Winters expressed repeated discomfort with the town being without meter readings on the school from May 26 through 31.

Porter will investigate the cost of surveying land owned by Winters where a storm drain sits, something for which Winters would like to give the town an easement at no cost. Ricciardi noted she had to pay $2,000 -- the cost of the land survey -- in order to give the town eight feet of her own property, and asked how much the survey of Winters' property would cost, prompting Porter's agreement to investigate.

The Council approved $10,092.47 to pay the cost of paving Ohio Street south of Mill, where original cost estimates had called for 19 feet in width. As paving commenced, Porter noted pavers E&B Paving had to instead pave 24 feet, thus requiring the additional funding.

Winters also stressed that proper procedures be followed by those seeking information from public records, and that Clerk Howard be contacted for such material, rather than any town employee or department head.

The Council also rescheduled a planned work session to discuss selection of a new Town Manager, for June 28.