Speed limit back on table
By Rob Treynor
Much like a phoenix rising from the ashes of its former self, the proposal to lower the speed limit along U.S. Route 42 has unfurled its wings before Plain City Village Council.
But this time, it was met with the full support of the village council.
The proposed speed limit reduction, which would affect the area of U.S. 42 north of the Copperfield development up to West Avenue, would lower the speed from 50 m.p.h. to 45 m.p.h.
Last fall, when the proposal was first voted upon, council was split. Half of the council thought the speed limit reduction was not adequate enough, and said the limit should be dropped to 35 m.p.h. instead.
The initial speed limit proposal was voted down on its third reading last November.
In December, officials from Ohio Department of Transportation met with the village council to discuss how the village could legally drop the speed limit to 35 m.p.h.
ODOT Traffic Safety Engineer Dave Carlin explained the two ways a municipality could legally lower the speed limit on a federal highway.
“One, you develop a speed study,” he said. “If the village agrees with the speed limit determined from the study, you can go about it that way.
“Another way is to go through the definitions of the Ohio Revised Code. When a highway goes through a municipal district, the code states that the speed must drop from 55 to 50 m.p.h. When a highway goes through district zoned for business, the limit drops to 35.”
The area in question is zoned for business currently.
However, as village administrator Steve Hilbert reminded council on Monday, “Zoning alone doesn’t make it a business disctrict.”
Village Solicitor Eamon Costello concurred.
“You would have to defend it as a business district if challenged,” he said.
Costello did not believe the village would be successful in such a defense, currently.
“I recommend that we take what we can get right now and drop the speed limit by five miles per hour right now,” outgoing council president pro tem Mark Hostetler said. “ We can then continue to work to get a 35 m.p.h. speed limit approved.”
Incoming president pro tem Kevin Vaughn concurred.
“I’m in favor of looking to drop it to 45 miles per hour now and to work for more in the future,” Vaughn said.
“We now have added incentive to develop that portion of Route 42,” added council member Todd Skidmore.
The vote was unanimous in favor of lowering the speed limit from 50 m.p.h. to 45 m.p.h. There will be two more readings of the resolution.