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Published: Thursday, 8/14/2003

Council will pay fees for attorney


SWANTON - Village council will pay the attorney fees for a woman who was ordered to remove a political sign from her front yard last summer before the council modified its sign code.

Council this week gave its attorney the authority to settle a lawsuit that Judith Alford filed against former village administrator John Syx in U.S. District Court in Toledo in December.

It is expected to cost the village less than $3,000, village administrator Jon Gochenour said.

Mr. Syx, who was also the village's zoning inspector, told Ms. Alford on Aug. 23 to remove her sign for Lucas County candidates because it was up more than 30 days before the election, a violation of Swanton's sign code.

The sign was in her yard at 306 North Main St. in Fulton County.

The village's sign code was modified last year to allow display up to 60 days before elections.

But this spring, solicitor Alan Lehenbauer recommended that the council not limit when residents display signs.

A limit on the size of such signs - 12 square feet - remains in the new ordinance.

Also this week the council discussed the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans for building a Hallett Avenue overpass above the railroad tracks.

The state is to pay for 95 percent of the cost of the overpass, which is estimated to cost $5.9 million to $6.3 million.

“That's kind of a deal for the village,” Mr. Gochenour said, adding the village has its share of the money in its capital improvements fund.

The work, however, will not be done until at least 2006 and most likely not until 2008, he said.

An average of 78 trains per weekday stop traffic on Hallett, he said.

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