The talk was sheds and storms for the city officials during the city council meeting on Monday.

The meeting began with Jennings County Economic Development group holding a public hearing for the conclusion of the disaster relief and assistance grant. The grant, which began helping businesses in the county in 2020, helped 64 unique businesses with over $790 thousand invested. 344 employees were retained with the help of this grant.

There were no members of the community that wanted to speak on the subject, and the meeting moved to its most talked about item on the agenda.

Marie Shepherd from the Area Plan Commission took to the stand and warned the council of a business request that would place a guitar shop in the parking lot of Furniture and Things. This shop would be in a pre-built shed.

The council noted that this idea was something they did not approve of, as they believed that this could spark multiple people to start similar “shed businesses” that would look bad and also not be charged property tax given the owner would be in an agreement with the parking lot owner.

Shepherd added that there are three other “shed businesses” that are already established: Tropical Snow in the parking lot at the corner of N State and Scott St, a shed office at the Built-Rite dealer in front of Totten’s Mobile Home Park, and the last across the road from Totten’s at the car dealership located beside Chiro-Train. The last of these buildings was disputed my a member of the community, as he stated the building was built on-site and on a concrete foundation.

The council talked with city attorney Larry Greathouse about the possibility of writing an ordinance that would make it necessary for a building to have running water and electric to be considered a permanent business. Greathouse countered, noting that this would be a job for the Area Plan Commission, as they should be writing this language into their bylaws.

It was concluded that the APC would acknowledge all city ordinances, and Greathouse would work to write something up to prevent the “shed businesses”.

The meeting then went to all the storm damage the city received during the storms that came through the area last week. Park Director Chad Speed noted that the city park lost three trees, as well as receiving damage to the tennis courts and pool chairs.

Street Commissioner Garrie Ritchie also noted that they have been busy cleaning up downed trees through out the city, and mentioned that they will be hard at work at Hillcrest Cemetery, where many trees and were blown over with the strong winds.

The four-member city council ended the short meeting by bringing up the possibility of hiring part-time college help over the summer as they had in years past to alleviate some of the work from the street department, and to also help with the beautification of the city.

While the grant the city used in the past to pay for this help no longer exists, Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin mentioned he would look into the possibility of other grants that may help cover the cost of the help.