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Published: Tuesday, 8/7/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Firehouse debate flares

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
An ambulance rolls out of the Sylvania Township Fire Station No. 1 in downtown Sylvania. Heavy afternoon traffic near the station has been cited as a concern while the city debates whether or not to rebuild the station in the same location. An ambulance rolls out of the Sylvania Township Fire Station No. 1 in downtown Sylvania. Heavy afternoon traffic near the station has been cited as a concern while the city debates whether or not to rebuild the station in the same location.
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Discussion about the future location of Sylvania Township Fire Station No. 1 turned hostile at Tuesday night's township trustees meeting after two of the trustees tried to vote to put a previously rejected location back on the table.

Trustees Neal Mahoney and John Jennewine voted for a resolution to rescind a motion made in February, 2010, that removed the Monroe Street site from consideration.

At a previous meeting, the trustees all but decided to build the new station at the site of its existing structure at 6633 Monroe St.

The station is the last of three township fire stations to be replaced as part of a capital campaign that was approved by voters in 2008, with a 1.25-mill general operating levy. Several sites have been considered for the station, but finalizing that location has been continually held up by disagreements.

After being prompted by one resident in attendance, Mr. Jennewine explained what was happening by taking back the resolution.

"What we have done is put that site back into play as an option," he said.

But fellow trustee Kevin Haddad said he wasn't in agreement with Monroe Street as a location and voted to rescind the resolution.

Mr. Haddad has previously said he prefers the new station to be built at 7610 Erie St., another option that was considered but not favored by some residents who said that having a station in the area would disrupt the neighborhood.

"I'm going to make a statement right now," Mr. Haddad said as he passed out a paper to the trustees and then to the audience of about 15. The paper cited section 505.262 "Township buildings finance and construction" of the Ohio Revised Code. "Apparently none of you understands the law," he said, taking a jab directly at Mr. Mahoney by adding a claim that he did not complete a related training course.

After Mr. Haddad read a section of the code, Mr. Jennewine suggested moving forward with the meeting.

"I'm going to close this down," Mr. Jennewine said.

But Mr. Haddad raised his voice.

"No, Mr. Jennewine. We are not," he said. "I'm in total disagreement."

He said all resolutions to be passed, such as the motion to rescind the previous resolution, are "null and void" until he agrees, because a section in the code regarding voting states the vote has to be unanimous.

Section 505.262 of the code states that "the board of township trustees of any township, by unanimous vote, may adopt a resolution allowing the township to contract for the purchase of equipment, buildings, and sites. … "

"You will not get my unanimous vote," Mr. Haddad said. "We cannot move forward on this fire station until we agree."

Resident Penny Levine was concerned about fighting among the trustees.

"Good luck on other locations. It does nerve me out as to what was brought up today. I guess there's a few resolutions that will have to be looked at and brought up again. I hope you guys work that out and keep your noses clean," she said.

But Mr. Jennewine maintained that the administration knows what it is doing and has done nothing wrong.

"I have the utmost faith and confidence of the team and staff we have here in the township," he said.

Mr. Haddad is to meet at 1:30 p.m. today with the township's attorney and township Administrator John Zeitler to discuss Mr. Haddad's comments and determine a course of action.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-206-0356.



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