When does the tornado siren go off in Grove, and how do city entities decide who is an acceptable firm for engineering work, were two of the questions asked during the May 7 Grove City Council meeting.
The first question, posed by Councilman Matt Henderson, came after recent storms caused the sirens to go off for an extended period of time.
Grove Police Chief Mark Morris answered Henderson's questions. He referred to the policy, established in April 2013 by himself, Grove Fire Chief Mike Reed, and Grove EMS Director Jeff Dozier.
In it, the policy directs the city's emergency management director, Robert Real, or his designee, to sound the alarm if a tornado is spotted within the Grove area.
The area is defined as within eight miles of the Third and Main stoplight.
Morris said while the sirens were sounded appropriately, he told the council they would revisit the policy if so directed.
He also indicated he would rather have the sirens go off, and nothing happen, than residents be hit with a tornado without warning.
The second question, concerning the bidding process for engineering work at the Grove Regional Airport, was raised by Tim McCrary, with Rose & McCrary, P.C., Engineering & Land Surveying.
McCrary spoke to the council about the airport board's decision to go a non-local company for the upcoming engineering work.
McCrary said he was not at the meeting to impugn the selection process, as he respects the airport board members.
But rather he wanted to clear up some confusion with the council concerning his firm's qualifications for the project.
He told the council the firm had engaged a plan with a nationally-recognized firm, to help "fill the void" on Rose & McCrary's resume concerning aeronautics engineering.
He asked the council to reconsider who the bids were going to, if two firms were equally viable, but only one considered local.
"We're just looking for our fair shot," McCrary said. "When we have holes, we bring in national firms to support us."
Eddie Rose, chairman of the airport board, told the council that after reading through the proposals, the board chose to go with a different firm.
He admitted it was a "tight competition," but the board thought the other firm carried more expertise when it came to working with state officials.
The airport board's request regarding awarding the engineering bid to Olson Associates, a firm which has six professional engineers dedicated solely to engineering was approved unanimously by the council.
One of the engineers who will work on the projects at the airport is Kelly Fincannon, who previously served as an engineer for the airport during the past 12 years while employed with Garver Engineering.
Other residents attended the meeting to raise concerns about an application made by Rhett Minson and ACR Dreams, LLC., to designate 1437 Lakeside Drive as a vacation rental home.
During a previous meeting, the owners of the home came to the council to request approval of their application for a special use permit - a needed step in designating the property as a vacation rental home.
During that meeting, the council did not act on the agenda item. Because no vote was taken, property representatives asked for the issue to be reconsidered during the May 7 meeting.
Neighborhood resident Kim Chuculate was one of the most vocal opponents to the plan.
She raised multiple questions about the viability of the vacation rental home within her neighborhood and the damage it could do to the neighborhood's property values.
Andy Stewart, a local businessman, spoke in favor of the special use permit.
He reminded those gathered Grove is a tourism-based economy, and that safeguards would be put into place - based upon the application requirements - to help with their concerns.
He also commended the property owners for going through with the formal regulations.
Stewart said others vacation home by owner properties are available in the area, without completing the reporting process.
During the discussion, Councilman Ivan Devitt reminded the residents the special use permit was simply a step in the process, saying the owners would still need to meet a lot of criteria before having an official license issued.
The special use permit passed by a vote of 4 to 1, with Councilman Josh McElhaney casting the dissenting vote.
In other business the council:
• approved a plan to go with IBTS for the preparation of a comprehensive plan for the city.
• approved a letter of engagement with Elfrink and Associates to conduct the 2018-19 city audit.
• approved a public hearing set for May 21, concerning five structures within Pier 59, 11601 Highway 59, Groveport, to determine if the structures are "detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the public."
• approved moving forward with a grant application with AARP, for a LED Flashing warning pedestrian signs on Highway 59 in the downtown area. In order to do this, the council needed to approve an agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation concerning the signage placement and management.
• appointed Don Nielsen to a term ending Sept. 30, 2021, and Ivan Devitt to a term ending Sept. 30, 2019 to the Grove Municipal Services Authority. Devitt abstained from the vote.
• set a work session for the 2019-20 budget at 4 p.m., Thursday, May 23. The meeting will take place in the council chambers, at the community center.