Stryker Village Council Sidewalk Nuisances Discussed

Some business owners in the Village of Stryker have new beef in light of displaying and selling on the sidewalks in the business district. Newspaper boxes, which have no voice, are the target of said conflict.

It has been pointed out that since the business owners are not permitted to sell on the sidewalks, the sale of newspapers from the Bryan Times boxes should also not be allowed.

Mayor Dan Hughes stated that he contacted the Bryan Times about the boxes. He was told that it is a “first amendment right and that there are exemptions, which many villages do have”. There are currently no specific ordinances in Stryker that would prohibit them.

The placement of the boxes on the streets is the means of how the newspaper gets the news out to the public. Hence, this is how they are exempt.

In past court cases when Villages take legal action, most often the Villages lose.

“It would be up to this council to change something if don’t want the paper boxes on [the sidewalks]” stated Hughes.

Council president Joan Ruffer has sided with the business owners; they should be taken out.

Councilman Terry Wieland also agrees with the removal of the boxes. “If we’re going to go for one, go for all. Everything comes off the street”

Councilman Joe Beck jumped in stating the boxes itself are not the issue, just the placement.

A motion was made and passed by council to have the boxes removed to just outside the business district.

The issue of “selling/displaying on the sidewalks” has been a sore subject for quite some time. Soles Motor Sports owner Larry Soles has been seeking permission to be able to display his merchandise on the sidewalks in front of his business. Since his business is motorcycles and recreational vehicles, it would be beneficial to him and sales to allow him to display his wares on the sidewalk, which happen to be on the corner of two state highways. In a previous meeting, he mentioned to council the amount of money he has lost in gross sales over the past few years.

Councilman Joe Beck has done extensive research in the sidewalk matter. He has discovered the Village must abide by state and federal guidelines, which do not allow the sale of motorized vehicles on the sidewalks. That cannot be superseded by any committee, including the new zoning committee that has been formed by the village. Special permits can be issued to allow sales on the sidewalk, just not for motorized vehicles.

He has contacted several agencies and has found that there is virtually no avenue or loop hole in which motor vehicles can be displayed on the sidewalks.

A vote of 5-1 was passed to adopt new sidewalk specifications: 5 feet for pedestrian traffic and 3 feet from the curb for the incidentals on the sidewalks (planters, trash cans, utilities, street signs)

Rick Wityk, American Legion Commander, approached council with his own sidewalk request on behalf of senior citizens and the Legion: to have 2 handicapped ramps installed in the sidewalk easier accessibility for his patrons that are in the need of such service.

The accessibility would be safer and beneficial to those that have to walk on the street to get to the corner for the ramp as they exit their vehicles. It was also stated that the ramp accessibility may have affected the business of renting the Legion as a result.

Currently, the ramp is located on the side of the building near the post office.

Village Administrator Gary St. John stated they are in compliant as they do have the required number of handicapped parking spaces and accessibility. St. John will check into the sidewalk cut costs to have the ramps installed.

In other news:

• Council passed motion to donate up to $3,000 to 3 individuals that have completed the First Responders training, now wishing to further their education and training
• Council to donate funds to the purchase of 2 AED (automated external defibrillator) for the Police Department and First Responders. There is currently only 1 functioning AED
• Village Administrator St John to examine N. Depot St for flooding near residence of Jack Riley which has caused structural damage to his home
• Village Trick-or-treat for Saturday, October 27th, from 5:30-7 p.m.
• Village ordinances are now on the village website for public viewing
• Village has experienced an increase of Breaking/Entering of businesses. Chief Schlosser has advised that each shift will make a door check of all businesses
• Pay rate set at $12 per hour for Mike Fox as Safety Coordinator, as discussed during executive session

Council will meet again in regular session on October 8th in the Village Hall.

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