PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission tabled two emergency ordinances during their meeting Tuesday evening, including one involving standards for small cell towers and facilities of telecommunications businesses locating within the public right-of-way.
City Attorney Stacy Wall requested that the commission table the ordinance involving telecommunications standards to allow for an additional chapter to be included in the ordinance.
That emergency ordinance would have implemented a new chapter for the Piqua code in regard to small cell facilities and wireless technology support structures. Small cell facilities and wireless support structures refer to structures like poles or small towers with antennas on top needed to broadcast the next generation of wireless technology, such as 5G technology.
The standards were also the result of litigation between municipalities and legislation adopted by the state that was deemed unconstitutional. The standards provide the city with more control over small cell facilities, such as with regulating appearance and suggesting alternative locations.
The other emergency ordinance that the commission tabled would have renumbered chapters of the Piqua code to allow the addition of the chapter regarding telecommunications standards. Wall requested that ordinance be tabled, as the numbering is expected to change again.
Later, the commission approved a lease agreement with NK Telco for use of Roadside Park for telecommunications infrastructure. The lease is an annual cost of $1 for 25 years. The existing pump station is longer in use at the site and is not of any value to the city, Economic Development Director Justin Sommer said. That portion of Roadside Park with the former pump station has been identified as a suitable location for a telecommunications utility hut for NK Telco, with whom the city entered into an agreement to lease fiber in January 2017 to serve businesses and residents. The telecommunications hut is needed to support the buildout of the fiber network.
Commissioner John Martin at first said that leasing that portion of Roadside Park to the business for the same amount that they offer to non-profit groups “seems outrageous” and that he wanted to see the fair market value of renting that space to NK Telco. Martin later approved of the lease agreement after Sommer explained the cost savings benefit.
Sommer said that, during negotiations with NK Telco over this lease, that amount was decided upon, as NK Telco will be incurring the cost of the infrastructure buildout of the fiber network to Piqua businesses and residents.
NK Telco can also demolish the former pump station at their own expense, saving the city that demolition cost, City Manager Gary Huff said.
The commission went into executive session to discuss amending collective bargaining agreements in regard to wages for electricians, journeyman line workers, journeyman line crew leaders, wastewater operators, meter readers, and lab technicians.
Slight pay increases were approved for electricians to keep them within range of market wages.
Wage increases for journeyman line workers, and journeyman line crew leaders were also amended in the agreement, but had been previously approved last year, according to Wall.
Wages for wastewater operators, meter readers, and lab technicians will remain the same for 2019, due to being above market wages, according to Wall.
These wage adjustments were the result of a compensation study that an independent consultant completed for the city.
Next on the agenda, the commission approved leasing a space to house the Underground Utility Department. The space is 8,300 square feet with 45 parking spaces located at 8620 N. County Road 25-A. The cost to lease the space is $3,400 per month, beginning in June.
Additionally, there was a public hearing for a resolution approving the renewal application for placement of farmland in an Agricultural District filed by the Sally K. Apple Trust and Donald E. Apple Trust in the city of Piqua. No one in attendance spoke in reference to the renewal application, and the commission approved the renewal application.
The commission also approved a zoning change for 1435 Covington Ave. to change the zoning of that property from R-3 multi-family residential to B general business. The property is the residential structure located between the future Speedy Cafe under construction to the west and the Woodgate Apartments to the east. The property owner requested the zoning change as preparation for future use of the property, according to Sommer.
“There is no known end user at this time,” Sommer said.
During public comment, a resident came forward to ask why the pump station near the Shawnee bridge was not turned on or working, as she lived near it and her basement was flooded.
“We’ll find out,” Huff said.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336