Section: News

Village Council discusses COVID-19 spike and zoning

Village Council convened on Tuesday, Sept. 6, to discuss rising COVID-19 cases and potential changes to intersections and zoning ordinances. 

Council members began the meeting by addressing questions and concerns raised by Gambier residents. The Council clarified that the pocket park, the newly designed seating area between the Gambier Post Office and the Village Market, is under the jurisdiction of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KSCO) and not Campus Safety. In the event that Kenyon students are caught drinking from open containers in this area, they therefore face potential legal consequences from the KCSO. 

In light of the recent increase in cases of COVID-19 on Kenyon’s campus, Professor of Biology Joan Slonczewski proposed that the Village collect wastewater samples in order to test for the presence of COVID-19. Slonczewski and their students collected samples from June 2020 until last spring, and the Village will continue this process. In recent days the Village has had three samples tested; once it has tested five samples, results will be posted online so that they are easily accessible to residents. The Village is planning to collect samples twice a week.

The Council also discussed redesigning the layout of the intersection at Acland Street and Wiggin Street in order to improve visibility and safety. Council members suggested adding a four way stop and curb extensions in order to increase the visibility of pedestrians. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission announced updates to their ongoing project of revising the Gambier Planning and Zoning Code, which was last updated in 1993. The Committee has been working with Compass Point Planning for the past 18 months. According to Village Administrator RC Wise, they are currently working to make the code more user friendly by reorganizing its content and adding graphics. 

Once the revisions are complete, the Council will host a community open house to present the potential changes to residents before voting on whether or not to adopt the code. “We are getting towards the end of the very long process of updating the code,” one council member said. “We’re beginning to move into these next few stages, which will eventually culminate in this illustrious body voting on replacing the code.” 

After reviewing a proposed ordinance to add additional enforcement options to the current parking limit of three cars per lot in residential areas, the Council broke out into an executive session to privately discuss employment matters before adjourning the meeting. 

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