The Shops At Franklin Place retail area are getting an addition.
Construction equipment has been giving the area along Monroe Street some preparation work for the 7,200 sq. ft. building which will house 3-4 new businesses.
Bill Bostleman, manager of development for Devonshire REIT, owner of the retail center, said construction is expected to be completed in five to six months.
He said there are two businesses committed to opening in the new structure.
The remaining space could be occupied by one or two tenants, he added. He declined to name the prospective tenants who are lined up.
Mr. Bostleman said the store fronts of the new building will face Monroe Street and the new building will be constructed with the same material used to build Marshalls and HomeGoods, relatively new additions on the property.
A number of smaller retailers have also opened on the 27.5 acre site since it was purchased by Devonshire REIT in 2013.
The first and welcome move by the real estate investment trust was to raze the large multi-screen theater which had stood vacant along Monroe Street since 2005.
After one-third of the year, David Simko, fiscal officer of Sylvania Township, said the numbers line up pretty well with estimates for both income and expenses as projected at the beginning of the year.
Mr. Simko also noted during the most recent meeting of the Sylvania Township trustees that a trend in recent years of managers and employees keeping expenses down is still in evidence; "Sometimes it is bottom up," he said in referring to individual employees in all township departments working to cut expenses even in small ways.
He added that the township is largely funded by a set formula of tax dollars and there is little that can be done to alter it. The one place the township can make a difference, he said, is in keeping expenses to a minimum.
Mr. Simko said revenues are at anticipated levels and each major department is at about one-third of the anticipated costs of running each department. The exception is the road and bridge fund which so far has only spent about 20 percent of their budget.
Costs in that department, however, will soon increase because of seasonal work necessary for the township infrastructure.
Sylvania Township officials are revising procedures for recruiting applicants for jobs as township firefighters.
John Zeitler, township administrator, told trustees, at their most recent meeting, that the goal of the changes is not to reduce standards needed for hiring, but to alter some of the requirements for applying for the position.
As an example, he noted that until now an applicant needed certification as both a firefighter and an emergency medical technician to apply for a position with the department. The township will change that so an applicant under the new policy can have a certification for only one or the other to qualify to take the exam. As past practice, applicants must pass a physical ability test to be placed on the Hiring Eligibility List.
At the point of hiring full time, however, the applicant must be certified in both specialties.
When an opening occurs in the fire department, a list of 15 qualified applicants will be compiled. If there is more than one opening, there will be a list of 20.
Individuals in that group will be interviewed by a panel of four, which will now include the human resource director of the township.
Those who are determined to be finalists will then have a background check.
The Lucas County Prosecutors office will evaluate the background of the applicants and report back to the township that the individual passed or failed. The Prosecutors office will retain all background records.
In answer to a question from Neal Mahoney, chairman of the trustees, John Borell, an assistant Lucas County Prosecutor, said the township is and has been in compliance with all laws related to nondiscrimination in hiring practices.
The township has hired a total of four new full-time firefighters in the last four years.
Mr. Zeitler noted that the township is not correcting anything which was wrong, but is making an effort to expand the pool of future hires.
He added that the township hopes to expand efforts through additional advertising and he noted that they will likely approach Owens Community College, which offers classes for emergency medical technicians.
Obstacles to a new electronic messaging board in front of Stranahan School, 3840 North Holland-Sylvania Rd, have been overcome with the approval to two variances of township zoning regulations.
The new sign will be somewhat higher than regulations call for and it will also be closer to the street than zoning regulations allow.
Daryl Graus, zoning and planning manager for the township, said he had no objection to the sign being higher than the standard, but noted that by placing the sign close to the roadway a distraction could be caused for drivers.
A proponent for the variance said that if the sign is pushed back from the proposed location its readability would be lessened and that might cause a greater distraction for those interested in the message on the sign.
Jeremy Bauer, principal at Stranahan, said the students there are excited about getting a new sign which will include an electronic message.
He said that before the school year ended he had gotten together with some of those who will be returning to try to work out a way to have the youngsters involved in creating some of the messages which will be shown.
Aaron Frye, a member of the Sylvania Township Fire Department since 2003, has been promoted to captain and named the department Training and Safety Officer.
In his new position, he is responsible for all training activities for department personnel.
He also must respond to all serious incidents, respond to and investigate on-duty injuries, be responsible for implementing an overall safety program for department operations, and coordinate after-action reviews of major incidents.
The Captain is certified as a Fire instructor, a Safety Inspector and an Incident Safety Officer.
Prior to joining the Sylvania Township department, Capt. Frye held a variety of fire and EMS positions with the Olmsted Township and Springfield Township fire departments.
He is continuing his education through managerial, operational, and technical courses with the Ohio Fire Academy and Bowling Green State University. He is an adjunct instructor in fire and EMS operations at Owens Community College.
Capt. Frye and his wife Laura live in the Sylvania community with their three daughters.
The Sylvania Township planning office will submit a proposed amendment to the township zoning code for review by the Lucas County Plan Commission.
The amendment, sought by the Board of Zoning Appeals, will attach an expiration date to zoning waivers and conditional use permits granted by the board.
Currently there is no time limit on those actions by the board.Daryl Graus, manager of zoning and planning for the township, had suggested to the board that an expiration date be established.
He noted that ownership could change on a parcel where an exception to zoning rules had been granted and that the nature of an area could change, yet in both cases the exception would still exist.
Although unlikely, someone might be able to exercise the conditional use or the variance at a time when many would think the project inappropriate.
The amendment sought by the BZA would cause permission to expire after two years unless work had begun on the project or certain steps had been taken to use the area for the reason permission was requested.
An applicant could also seek a two-year extension, if necessary. Mr. Graus said most conditional use permits are sought by someone who hopes to begin a small business in their home and generally are about ready to begin when they ask for the permit.
Waivers generally seek permission to build something outside parameters established in the zoning code. Those requests, too, are usually sought near the time construction is about to begin.
The proposed change must first be recommended for approval both by the County Plan Commission, and the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission. Final approval is up to the Sylvania Township Trustees.
New Fire Hoses
Sylvania Township trustees have approved the purchase of hoses of varying types for the Sylvania Township Fire Department.
Chief Jeff Kowalski told trustees that the department hoses are outdated and the majority are not in compliance with national standards.
The department received a grant, of $99,500 from the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Operations and Safety, to use for replacement of the the hoses.
Although three bids were received, Chief Kowalski said that only the one from Finley Fire Equipment had all of the specifics in the bid packet.
Trustees voted to accept that bid of $82,800.
It will not be long before you may see a new air wagon in service for the Sylvania Township Fire Department.
An air wagon is one of those lesser-known items necessary when the department is fighting a fire which for any number of reasons will take a long time to extinguish.
When firefighters are in harms way, in a smoke-filled environment, their air packs, or oxygen tanks, are something that can not be done without and the air wagon is what keeps those tanks filled.
"It is not something we need very often, but when we need it, we need it," Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski said.
A new vehicle, outfitted for use as an air wagon, the chief estimated would cost at least $200,000. The chief said the total cost of this township vehicle should be under $20,000.
A big part of the savings was possible when he chief was able to buy, for $1, a life squad which was being taken out of service by Lucas County. He said a private contractor was used to refit the vehicle with all the hoses, pipes needed as well as move the core equipment from the old air wagon.
The vehicle needed some minor repairs and there is some rust to be dealt with, but to have a well-functioning air wagon is something a fire department cannot do without.
That work and some painting brought the rough estimate to under $20,000.
In the case of a big blaze the air wagon is brought to the scene. It is able to fill two air packs at a time. Each firefighter always has two air packs. When one gets low, he will get out of the building, put on the other one, and hand the used one to personnel on the air wagon for refilling.
He said the need for the apparatus is an example, "of what I am sure some guys are tired of hearing from me. Everything we have must always be in top condition.
"We never have the opportunity to stop a job and come back with a different tool."
He pointed out that the first thing every firefighter does every day is check their air pack.
"You may not need it on any given day, but when you need it, you need it. It is your life line."
The same is true of the air wagon, if air is not available to refill the air packs firefighters would have to retreat from fighting a blaze.
Our job is to save that property and the air wagon is a little-known but essential part of everything that goes into the process, the chief added.
Sylvania Township trustees, during an organizational session at their most recent meeting, decided to change the starting time of meetings to be held the first Tuesday of each month.
The first-Tuesday meeting will now have a starting time of 5 p.m., one hour later than that meeting was held last year.
John Jennewine, trustee, said some people had suggested to him that more citizens might be able to attend if the starting time was moved back from 4 p.m.
The other regularly scheduled meeting of the trustees will continue to be held at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
Sylvania Township has launched an alert system which will allow for a message to be sent to a residents phone and/or email address when Lucas County or the township issue notice of an emergency, such as a tornado warning.
Those who choose to can add features such as reminders of township public meetings, planned road closures and other things of significance to local residents.
Sylvania Township is offering the service for free, although some message fees may apply.
To obtain the service, a resident should go to www.sylvaniatownship.com. On the home page there is a link which will take you to the form to sign up for the service. Then just fill out the application and click "sign up now" at the bottom of the page.
When police and fire departments are faced with emergency situations one of their problems is dealing with members of the public who have unexpectedly arrived at the scene. Just trying to manage traffic and control crowds becomes a job in itself. With the alert system, people on their way to a destination can be warned that there is a problem at a given site and will be able to drive around the area. They will not have as much inconvenience and safety forces will be able to concentrate on the issue to which they responded.
Of a more benign nature, a resident may be following an issue in the township and can receive a reminder of the next public meeting dealing with the issue.
By signing up for Sylvania Alerts you will automatically get emergency alerts issued by the Lucas County and can choose from a number of options for alerts offered by the township.
The service was earlier approved by Sylvania Township trustees and has been purchased by the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency. To participate, the township has agreed to pay no more than $2,500 annually. That cost could be reduced if enough other jurisdictions join the service.
Township officials said none of those who sign up will receive unsolicited calls nor will contact numbers be sold to other parties.
Township residents who sign up for the program may also choose to be notified of such things as the annual leaf and brush pick up and other events of general interest.
Use the form on the Home Page to sign up.