A map of less-traveled, presumably safer routes is being prepared for Sylvania-area bicyclists.
Greg Huffman, a member of the Bikeways Committee, showed Sylvania Township trustees a draft map of the effort so far at the trustees most recent meeting.
Mr. Huffman, a project coordinator for the township and its former public works manager, told the trustees that the effort is to show bicycle riders routes which can be taken to keep them off busier roadways.
For instance, a cyclist near Whiteford and Sylvania wanting to get to the Franklin Park Mall can avoid heavily-traveled Sylvania by going a short distance north on Whiteford and then head east through attractive residential neighborhoods. Eventually the cyclist will reach Talmadge Road, find a place to cross, and be at the mall.
Mr. Huffman said the goal of the committee is not to suggest road improvements, but to simply suggest alternate paths of travel which may be more pleasant for those on bicycles.
David Simko, township fiscal officer, asked if any grant money was available which might allow for some road widening.
Mr. Huffman said that would be something to be discussed after the pathway map had been completed.
Mr. Simko, in the past, has suggested the possibility of widening some township roads, particularly in the east for cyclists. He has noted that with the University-Parks Trail and a more rural setting, the western portion of the township has several routes available for cyclists.
The longer-established eastern portion of the township provides less in the way of opportunity for casual biking. Mr. Simko said he isn't necessarily advocating for large-scale change, but just widening some roads by a few feet to allow for safer bicycling.
Mr. Huffman said when the pathways map is complete it will be presented to the Toledo Metropolitan Council of Governments.
Once approved, the goal will be to publicize the alternate routes.
There will likely be a push to have different jurisdictions install signs for cyclists to follow, he added.
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 won't 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.
The Sylvania Township Fire Department will advertise for bids to purchase new firefighting hoses.
Chief Jeffrey Kowalski told township trustees that much of the firefighting hose in the department is outdated and there is a need to replace much of it.
The chief said the cost of the hose will likely be about $99,500. The purchase will be mostly from a grant of $90,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The grant is specifically for Assistance to Firefighters Operations and Safety and it is designated for the replacement of outdated and non-compliant firefighting hose.
Trustees unanimously gave permission to advertise for the bids.
Zoning Board of Zoning Appeals may soon add to its regulations an expiration date for variances and conditional uses it grants.
Daryl Graus, manager of the planning and zoning office for the township, suggested the board consider such a move.
He noted that when the BZA grants a variance or a conditional use permit for a township property, that condition stays in effect.
It doesn't end just because the project for which the permission was sought is never acted on and it doesn't change even with a change in ownership of the property.
It leaves open the possibility of someone acting on that change several years later, potentially after the character of the neighborhood has changed.
Some Ohio townships have expiration times attached to BZA actions and some don't, he said.
A discussion by the board at its most recent meeting seemed to center on the possibility of a two-year deadline by which an owner or the applicant would have to begin work on the project.
They voiced some approval of the idea of then allowing for a two-year extension which would have to be approved by the board.
Mr. Graus said he would put together a draft regulation which the board can discuss and make changes to before it is submitted to the Lucas County Plan Commission for their approval.
Sylvania Township trustees have approved a zoning change for about four acres along Ridgewood Trail for a proposed 13-home subdivision.
The property is at the rear of 3427 McCord Rd., which will retain its rural residential zoning. The zoning change for the remaining acreage is now residential planned unit development.
The houses planned for the development will be similar to other houses in the area and are expected to cost from $250,000 to $350,000.
Jerry Parker, an attorney representing the developer, said his client will construct a sidewalk in front of the homes and extend it to McCord even though he has no control over the lot facing McCord.
Ridgewood runs west off McCord between Sylvania and Central avenues.
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 resident's 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 won't 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.