MARIETTA - Street repairs and wind turbines were main topics of conversation during Marietta City Council committee meetings Thursday.
Downtown property owner Dave Haney, Tom Crooks with Stonewall Marketing, and Gold Line Jewelers owner Tom Hockenbrocht expressed concerns about the brick alley that runs behind their Front Street properties between Butler and Greene streets.
"We've tried for 10 years to get that alley repaired," Haney told the streets and transportation committee members, noting storm drainage issues that have buckled the road surface.
"The alley is the worst it's ever been," Crooks added. "Our employees park in back of the business just off the alley, and it's hazardous. And we have clients parking there who come to meet with us."
Hockenbrocht said some cars driving through the alley scrape their bottoms on raised areas in the center of the alleyway.
In addition, neighbors Becky Wright and Jim Lawson told the committee members that some major potholes had developed near their homes at the Glendale Road and Sherry Drive intersection due to truck traffic in that area.
Lawson said some of the holes had been patched recently, but those patches have worn out.
Wright added that trucks turning onto Sherry Drive cannot make the turn from Glendale Road and have to run onto her property to make the turn.
And Deane Woods reminded the committee members that road patching was supposed to be done in his neighborhood along Warner Street.
Asked what could be done, city engineer Joe Tucker noted the city has a tight budget for streets projects this year.
"If we take on additional projects to complete this year, we're going to have to look at what other projects we're not going to be able to complete," he said. "We're spending $123,682 from our streets fund, but leveraging $661,012 for our asphalt paving program."
Tucker said additional streets and streets-related work to which the city is already committed brings that total to $9.6 million worth of projects, although not all of those will be completed in 2011.
Haney suggested using capital improvement monies to fund the alley work and other streets repairs, but Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, and chairman of the finance committee, said capital improvement funds have never been used for streets repairs.
Streets and transportation committee chairman Denver Abicht said although complete, permanent repairs may not be possible this year, hot patching could be done on the Glendale Road and Sherry Drive intersection, as well as temporary leveling of the brick alley downtown.
City safety-service director Al Miller said the streets department will be working on Warner Street, but he did not have a timeframe for when those repairs would be completed.
In other business, council's planning, zoning and annexation committee discussed potential legislation governing the use of electricity-generating wind turbines in the city.
Committee chairman Jon Grimm, R-3rd Ward, said the city zoning code has no provision for wind turbines, and there are no turbines inside the city limits. But with escalating power costs and improved wind technology, city residents could soon consider installation of the devices.
He said law director Roland Riggs III has recommended that zoning legislation regulating wind turbines be put on the books.
Grimm said he looked at what other communities have done and developed a potential draft ordinance based on legislation adopted in Independence, Ohio.