Norwalk delays alcohol decision

NORWALK During a busy Tuesday night work session, Norwalk City Council tabled a request by Berry's R
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



During a busy Tuesday night work session, Norwalk City Council tabled a request by Berry's Restaurant to serve alcohol on the adjacent city park property.

Resident Mike Babcock voiced his opinion for the second time since Berry's had been put on hold.

"It amazes me that you guys continue to pursue this," he said, "spending taxpayer dollars and taking the law director's time ... Do you guys really think that's going to make Norwalk a better place?"

Council listened to comments for and against the issue, but offered no further input on the controversial topic. Members have said before they are on both sides of the fence. Mayor Sue Lesch has expressed the community's love for the restaurant, but reminded council to look at the big picture -- how changing the current laws would affect the city as a whole.

Doug Berry remained seated in a pew, quietly listening for further feedback. When none was given and the matter was delayed again, he slipped out.

Council will revisit the issue at the next regular meeting, 7:30 p.m. July 24 in Council Chambers.

Council member Robert Carelton said the new draft of the ordinance concerning alcohol on city property, drawn up weeks ago, will either receive a second motion from a council member to be read or will be declared dead. He said the issue could go either way.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen, but in my opinion I believe it will be decided by one vote," he said, "We've seen crazier things."

In other news, Norwalk has recruited the Ohio Fire Chief's Association to conduct a study for a new fire station. The study will cost $10,000 from the general fund and is being used to find a convenient new location for the department. Mayor Lesch said in prior meetings the current station has seen many years, and it's time to revamp.

Council member Shane Penrose voiced his enthusiasm for the study.

"We need this study. I'm not the biggest guy on council, but I've had to duck and squeeze through certain places," he said of the 95-year-old building.

City officials also discussed a $68,000 Community Development Grant. Carelton said the grant would give back to Norwalk funding it has put into low- and moderate-income housing expenses. The grant was created to assist communities with improvement and construction of these locations. The grant application will be submitted for the 2007 year to the Ohio Department of Development and will be split into two portions. If qualified, the city will put $11,000 toward administration and fair housing activities, and the remaining $57,000 would go to the Ford Avenue water line project.