Village Council  
Monday, July 13, 2020
6:30 p.m.

WHEN:          Monday, July 13, 2020
WHERE:       Amberley Village Municipal Building, 7149 Ridge Road
**Please see meeting protocols for COVID-19, or visit the Village website at  Updated information regarding remote participation can be found here:  About Remote Meetings**
Alternative:   Participate by calling in (see below for instructions)
SUBJECT:   The purpose of this meeting is to review changes to sections of the Village Zoning Code in regards to zoning regulation and property maintenance.

Property maintenance in Amberley Village is an integral part of maintaining the aesthetic of a well-kept community. Maintaining one's property adds value and character to the community where we live and it's in everyone's best interest to preserve property values and remain a clean and attractive community.

As stated in our Code, the purpose of the exterior property maintenance code is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare. The purpose goes further with its ability to:

* conserve and promote the value of properties
* improve aesthetic aspects of all structures, whether residential or non-residential
* provide for protection against public nuisances
* enhance property values and quality living
* keep crime down
* instill a sense of pride in our community which adds to our distinctiveness
* encourage investment in property which complements our higher quality of life
* brings pride and encourages interaction between neighbors
* protect public convenience, comfort, and prosperity
* enforce the character of properties within the Village

When properties are not maintained, it affects the value of nearby properties and if widespread, can affect the prices of entire communities. Property maintenance impacts the property values of neighborhoods and the Village as a whole. The value of properties, however, is just one aspect. The enforcement of maintenance standards for property owners assures neighbors that all residents are expected to keep their property up to those standards. Simple, timely maintenance can prevent major problems and ensure compliance with the code.

In the Fall of 2018, the Law Committee began discussions about various changes to our property maintenance code. The changes stemmed from resident complaints, questions, lack of clarity in the code on how to approve certain requests and the need to bring sections of the Village Zoning Code up to date.

Deliberations on the amendments ensued, however, our progress was sidetracked by the necessity of dealing with the accessory use code. While this necessitated several months of meetings between the Law Committee, Planning Committee, and Village Council, the attention to the property maintenance code was placed on hold. Consequently, a change in law directors added further delay but in the Fall of 2019, the property maintenance code changes resurfaced for the Law Committee.

The Law Committee, over several meetings, reviewed changes to multiple sections of the code. The Law Committee made the decision not to recommend some amendments presented to them but honed in on the more relevant sections that they believed needed attention. Those sections are included here as moving forward to the full Council for consideration.

One set of property maintenance code modifications affected the zoning code, therefore it was referred to the Planning Commission on March 11 by Village Council with Resolution 2020-12. Planning Commission held a public hearing, reviewed the proposed ordinance on April 6 and made the recommendation, that Council adopt Ordinance 2020-6 with one modification.

In section 154.14 where "barbed wire, farm fencing or razor wire" are proposed as prohibited fencing materials, Planning Commission added "chain-link". Since the Village doesn't want to encourage fences to preserve our vistas, Planning Commission's perspective was fencing should be aesthetically pleasing and chain-link fences have a similar feel as the ones (barbed wire, farm fencing and razor wire) proposed for elimination. The consensus was that while chain-link is long-lasting, it tends to rust and discolor.

The advantages of chain-link are its affordability and low maintenance but it's also good at keeping kids and pets contained. With the exception of vinyl covering, the appearance of chain-link hasn't evolved much and still gives an industrial type appearance. While it's more durable than an alternative like wood, it is prone to sagging if posts become loose or tension wires become stretched. It also doesn't provide privacy or the best security and it doesn't add much property value. Therefore, the Planning Commission recommended the changes our Law Committee and Village Council proposed in addition to adding chain-link to the prohibited fence materials.

Below is a summary of proposed changes contained within the three different ordinances:

Ordinance 2020-6
154.14 Fences, Walls and Hedges: (the existing code does not regulate the type of material used in constructing residential fencing and limits the height on all fences to 41/2')

The proposed changes to 154.14 (1) are to not allow residential fencing to be constructed of barbed wire, farm fencing, razor wire or chain link and stipulate that the finished side of the fence must face the adjacent properties. These changes stem from requests from residents to use these types of materials and the belief that these should not be allowed on residential properties.

The proposed changes to 154.14 (2) are to allow vegetable and fruit garden fencing to be a maximum of 6' in height, must be see-through green or black material and restrict the garden to 400 square feet in size.

154.54 (D) (4) Chickens: (the existing code states the fencing around chicken coops shall not exceed 41/2' in height)

The proposed changes to 154.54 are to allow the fencing around chicken coops to be constructed up to 6' in height. This change stems from concerns that the code requires chickens to be protected from predators and the coop is to be regularly maintained but the 41/2' high fence does not prevent predators from entering the area and is to low to maintain the coop.

Since Ordinance 2020-6 affects our zoning code, it is necessary to have a public hearing on these changes. This can be scheduled for May 11.

Two additional pieces of legislation pertaining to the property maintenance code did not affect the zoning code, therefore, the ordinances did not require the Planning Commission's review nor do they require a public hearing. Those changes were reviewed by the Law Committee and are as follows

Ordinance 2020-7
98.02 Fencing of Pools Required: (the existing code calls for fencing around pools to be a minimum of 3' in height and maximum of 4½')

The proposed change to Section 98.02, is to increase the minimum fence height around pools to 4½' in height. This increase in height is for safety purposes and to be consistent with the Village Zoning Code and Hamilton County building regulations.

98.01 Definitions, Pools: (the existing zoning code does not regulate types of pools that are permitted)

The proposed changes to section 98.01 Pools, is to prohibit above ground pools but grandfather existing above ground pools until which time they are removed. The proposed change stems from years of residential complaints that the Village allows above ground pools.

92.01 Adoption of the Ohio Fire Code: (the existing fire code followed by the Village is the Unified Hamilton County Fire Code, which no longer exists)

The Unified Hamilton County Fire Code is no longer used in the County. The proposed change to section 92.01 is to repeal the existing fire code and adopt the State of Ohio Fire Code.

Ordinance 2020-8
159.172 Toys, Recreation or Sports Equipment and Furniture: (the existing code does not address furniture located outdoors in the front yard)

The proposed change to section 159.172, is furniture in the front yard must be in good repair and not allow it to be located in the street right-of-way.

159.191 Protective Treatment: (the existing code does not address algae and mold growth on the exterior surface of structures)

The proposed changes to section 159.191 would add the requirement that any surface found to have algae, mold and like growth be cleaned and maintained free from growth.

159.164 Weeds and Firewood Piles: (the existing code does not address the locations where firewood piles can be located)

The proposed change to section 159.164, would require firewood to be neatly stacked and prohibit the firewood from being located in the front yard.

159.063 Penalties: (the existing code states that a repeat offender may be cited starting with the second offense in any calendar year)

The Proposed change to section 159.063, is to correct the language to read for each offense including the third and thereafter violation of the chapter in any calendar year, the property owner may be cited and fined $150 as a repeat offender.

159.081 Notice: (the existing code had language about right to appeal and did not have language about the Village's right to cite repeat offenders)

The proposed change to section 159 081, is to remove language in (E) (the right to appeal) and replaced with the language contained in the current subsection (F) to read as follows: Include a statement of the right to file a lien in accordance with § 159.062 and may be cited to Amberley Village Mayor's Court.

159.130 through 159.136 Means to Appeal: (the existing code states that one has the right to appeal the property maintenance compliance order and the Village would appoint an appeals committee to hear cases)

The proposed change to the property maintenance section is to repeal Means of Appeal, section 159.130 through 159.136.

159.161 Grading and Drainage: (the existing code does not address the accumulation of dirt and similar material or the restoration of residential sewer lines)

The proposed change to section 159.161, is to add a section (B), prohibit the accumulation of such material in a manner that constitutes visual blight or reduces the aesthetic appearance of the premises for more than 30 days.
Also, add a section (C), to restrict all work related to replacement of a residential sanitary line to a 6 month period, including restoration of the soil and grass so as not to create blight and prevent erosion.

On July 13, after the required public hearing for Ordinance 2020-6, Ordinance 2020-7 and Ordinance 2020-8 and discussion about all three ordinances, Village Council has the option to amend and/or approve the ordinances, waive or not waive the final two readings and approve or not approve emergency language. If the ordinances are approved, they would go into effect 45 days after adoption; if there is an emergency clause, the ordinances would go into effect immediately.
Council announced that it would hold an additional public hearing to allow for resident input regarding the proposed ordinances at the July meeting on June 8, 2020. Residents wishing to speak will have the opportunity to sign up prior to the meeting by contacting the Clerk of Council at or by calling 531-8675.
Copies of the proposed Ordinances 2020-6, 2020-7 and 2020-8 are available on the Village website at for review.

                        cc:       Amberley Village Council Members
                                    Mayor Thomas C. Muething
                                    Scot F. Lahrmer, Village Manager
                                    Kevin McDonough, Esq., Wood & Lamping
                                    Richard L. Wallace, Police/Fire Chief
                                    Village Posting Boards
                                    Cincinnati Enquirer
                 Alternative Attendance Information for Call-In Participation:
Topic: Amberley Village Council Meeting/Public HearingTopic: Amberley Village Council Meeting
Time: Jul 13, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Call-in #:  13126266799

Meeting ID: 892 1575 9604

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