Two charter amendments to appear on ballot in city of Kent

Katie Hilbert

Voters soon will have the opportunity to change the Kent City Charter. Two charter amendments will appear on the May 2 ballot.

The first amendment proposes to remove the Board of Building Appeals from the list of Board of Commission members who must be registered city voters.

“The amendment is necessary to provide the technical expertise needed on the Kent Board of Building Appeals,” said Building Services Supervisor Charles Huber.

Huber said there are two building codes. One of the codes regulates one, two and three family residential construction.

The other building code, which is known as the Ohio Building Code regulates everything else.

Huber said Kent’s Board of Building Appeals used to be certified by the state of Ohio to hear cases under the OBC. But in 2004, Huber said they could no longer find people with the qualifications required to staff the Board of Building Appeals. He said the board lost its state certification, and now those appeals are heard by the Ohio Board of Building Appeals, which sits in Ashland.

Huber said if this amendment passes, the board hopes to regain its certification to hear cases under the OBC.

Clerk of Council Linda Copley said this amendment appeared on the November ballot, but it failed.

She said some people feel that a person should be a Kent resident in order to be on the board.

“There’s a mindset along those lines,” she explained.

It’s difficult to get people involved, she said, adding that it seems like local people don’t want to apply for the Board of Building Appeals.

“It’s a real tough situation,”she said.

Ward 3 Councilman Wayne A. Wilson said there are people who want to get involved but can’t because they do not live in the city of Kent.

“We’re losing a lot of expertise there, I think,” he said.

The second amendment proposes to follow state law on qualifications, powers and duties for the Construction Commission.

Wilson said this amendment is pretty much for housekeeping purposes.

Copley explained that there are three sections in the Kent City Charter that deal with the Construction Commission. Last summer, it was decided that the commission wasn’t needed and that the matter should be taken to the voters.

One of the three sections about the commission was left off of the November ballot, so this amendment, Copley said, is finishing what was already started by the voters.

“It just didn’t find its way to the ballot with the other two,” she said.

Wilson said neither amendment is what he would call “controversial,” so he said he thinks both of them will not have trouble passing.

But, he said, one never truly knows what the voters will do.

Contact public affairs reporter Katie Hilbert at [email protected].