PAULDING – Paulding Village Council green-lighted a new business construction and considered questions about fire inspections during its regular meeting Monday, March 6.

Council’s first item of business was unanimously approving the planning commission’s recommendation for a Taco Bell restaurant.

Black River Bells of Brighton, Mich., wants to construct a new Taco Bell on a vacant lot at 839 N. Williams St. (U.S. 127). A public hearing on the proposal was held Feb. 27, with no residents voicing comments.

Leslie Accardo of PEA Group engineers, who attended the meeting via Zoom, said restaurant construction is slated to begin in August. They are in the process of working on the engineering plans, which will be submitted to the village for review. The architect is completing drawings and will submit those for approval.

The bulk of Monday’s meeting the continuation of a discussion initiated at the Feb. 21 session regarding fire inspections in downtown commercial buildings.

Councilman David Burtch asked if the village conducts regular fire inspections. Fire Chief Todd Weidenhamer responded no, the village doesn’t have anyone certified to inspect. He believes the closes available person is in Payne.

Paulding resident Al Beamer is certified for inspections, but isn’t interested in conducting inspections downtown.

Councilwoman Lois Beamer noted the county commissioners decided at some point that they didn’t need a county fire marshal.

Burtch advocates having a fire inspection of all of Paulding’s downtown buildings. Most cities require annual inspections by the fire department.

Two EMTs in attendance said they have been in some of the second-floor apartments downtown that would not pass inspection.

Solicitor Harvey Hyman said the state has a fire code, but the village has no one to inspect or enforce it.

In the past, officials have contacted the state fire marshal’s office get an inspector to come in. Hyman will look into whether it’s possible to have inspectors here for several days.

There’s also a problem with building owners doing work or remodeling without filing permits, following codes or having state inspections. Council might need to create an ordinance requiring anyone doing commercial remodeling must file a permit with the village, and the village would notify the state.

A question also was raised about evacuations during a fire and who decides when residents can return. Weidenhamer said the standard is keeping the property vacant for 48 hours.

Hyman asked if the fire department sees catastrophic damage due to fire, can the department determine whether occupants can be kept out until repairs are made. Weidenhamer responded there’s nothing in place to force the owner to repair the interior.

Burtch suggested the village might try to meet with the county commissioners and the county health board.

“We need to be doing some inspections before somebody dies” or is seriously injured, he said.

Mayor Greg White will see about setting up a meeting of either the safety committee or committee of the whole with the county commissioners to discuss the matter further.

White reported he and Burtch attended a Northwestern Ohio Regional Economic Development meeting in Perrysburg earlier in the day. The mayor said about eight or nine people from Paulding attended. The program included many good speakers.

Burtch added that one speaker, who specializes in downtown revitalization and repurposing old buildings, shared success stories of light manufacturing, such as candy making, occupying a portion of a building while selling the products in the storefront. Burtch thinks the concept would work in some of the town’s vacant business buildings.

In a related item, Burtch said Lisa Lawson from the Center for Rural Development at Bowling Green State University will attend the March 20 council meeting to report results of the recent resident survey.

More than 500 survey responses have been tabulated.

Lawson will discuss some ideas for “placemaking” projects. Placemaking is a collaborating engagement process that helps leaders create quality places where people will want to live, work, visit and learn.

Administrator Jason Vance told council an engineering crew will be surveying in Emerald Acres for the new few week in preparation for the Phase 1 Emerald Acres sanitary sewer replacement project.

The village will open bids for the 2023-24 cemetery mowing contract at 11 a.m. March 15. Bid packets are available at the village utilities office.

Vance reported the solid waste contract extension with Werlor has been signed and completed for 2023.

Finance Director Cheryl Halter reported she has closed the books for 2022 and the computer rolled over to 2023.

Earlier on Monday, Halter received the real estate taxes from the first half of 2022.

It is time to renew the liability and property insurance through Ohio Plan Insurance. Vance has been working on updating the lists of property and equipment, which will be submitted for a price quote. The new policy will be due April 1. Halter hopes to have the quote ready for approval at the next council meeting.

The police department during February responded to 199 service requests and three traffic accidents; issued one traffic citation; wrote two parking tickets; sent one junk notice letter; and issued no junk ordinance citations.

The next regular council meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 20. The public may watch live via Zoom at The meeting ID number is 445 135 2151.