Marietta City Council on Thursday adopted legislation creating new "H/M" or hospital/medical zoning within the city limits.
The zoning designation, requested by the Marietta Memorial Health System, will ultimately allow the system to make some improvements at its Memorial, Selby and Wayne Street campuses without having to go through a lengthy approval process with city council.
Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, and chairman of council's planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee, said the zoning request has taken more than a year to complete.
"We've also held five different public hearings-the final one tonight-on this request," he said. "This legislation simply sets up a new hospital/medical zone, similar to the institutional/office (I/O) zone established for Marietta College and Washington State Community College."
The I/O zoning allows those institutions to make minor improvements to their properties without first seeking council approval, which can delay a project for several weeks.
"But this legislation just sets up the new zone," Kalter explained. "The health system will still have to bring all of their properties into the zone," which will require additional council legislation.
If you go
Marietta City Council's water, sewer and sanitation committee meets at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam St., followed by an audit committee meeting at 4 p.m. and a finance committee session at 4:30 p.m.
All council and committee meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public. For more city information, visit the web site at www.mariettaoh.net
The health system will also have to go through the city planning commission for any major projects on its properties.
In other business, council approved $389,560 for a major upgrade to the city's current software system by New World Systems of Troy, Mich.
A committee made up of city utilities department director Kim Nohe, auditor Sherri Hess, assistant safety-service director Bill Dauber, and Scott Steinel and Amy Tucker with the IT department, worked for 14 months on selecting a provider for the upgraded software, finally recommending New World Systems out of a field of 12 original vendors.
"New World has been in business more than 30 years, and has 50-plus local customers," Steinel said. "The software we're using now was developed in 1959. But now each year (with this contract) New World will keep us updated with the latest and greatest software."
In addition to support from Hess, Nohe and Dauber, a letter of support for the upgraded system was submitted by city engineer Joe Tucker who said, although the new software package is costly, it will bring the city into the 21st Century.
Also on Thursday, council clerk Theresa Taylor announced she will be transferring to the city law director's office at the end of November to fill a position being vacated by current law director secretary Sharon Karcher who is retiring.
The council members thanked Taylor for her service and wished her well at the law director's office. She was hired as council clerk in July, 2011.
Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said the hiring of a new clerk would be up to city council.
All seven council members also expressed condolences to city law director Paul Bertram III whose father, Paul Bertram, Jr., died Oct. 7 at the age of 75. Bertram Jr. had also served as city law director in the late 1960s and early 1970s.