By a 5-1 vote, Groveport City Council approved an ordinance last week authorizing the Groveport Community Improvement Corp. (CIC) to sell three small plots of land on the south side of Main Street to RASL LLC, representing Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital.

By a 5-1 vote, Groveport City Council approved an ordinance last week authorizing the Groveport Community Improvement Corp. (CIC) to sell three small plots of land on the south side of Main Street to RASL LLC, representing Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital.

The CIC is authorized to act as the city's agent and sell land owned by the city without advertising and the receipt of bids.

The sale price for the parcels, which total less than an acre, was $13,000.

Council member Ed Rarey cast the sole dissenting vote. Rarey said the city paid $235,000 to buy the property in 2005 and then spent an additional $16,000 to demolish three buildings that were on it in the following year. He said the CIC's plan then was to revitalize the downtown core.

"I think it's going to be very difficult for council to justifiably defend what they've done," he said.

The largest parcel, located adjacent to the Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital, 649 Main St., is currently an empty lot that the animal hospital's co-owner, Dr. Alec Land, said he hopes to develop as an addition to his business, which currently has space constraints.

Land said at council's Committee of the Whole meeting on July 16 his plans depend on the availability of nearby parking as well as what the current economy will bear.

"Parking is contingent on what we do," he said. "I would like to give you a firm plan. If we don't get parking, we'll expand internally within the hospital."

Land said that if he did get parking, his plans would be more ambitious in that a second story to the new addition would likely be added for retail or office space.

"I need income to support this building. Across the street is the logical space for parking," he said, referring to the vacant parcel on the north side of Main Street that is owned by the city.

City Administrator Marsha Hall said there is some interest in developing that city-owned parcel.

"Actually, we are talking to one person that may be interested in it. There is some discussion going on about development in that area right now," she said.

Land said he will wait and see what develops on the city property before he makes a major investment in his new property. He said it would be fruitless to have retail space in his building if merchants couldn't find reliable parking for their customers.

"Parking is very scarce in and around the building," he noted. "On nights there is Little League baseball, there is often no convenient, accessible parking for people to come to the animal hospital. We have to come up with a sensible plan. What we do is definitely contingent on what Groveport does across the way."

He said he hopes the city will consider the possibility of having dedicated parking on the site, but understands the likelihood it will be commercially developed.

"They're talking about putting in a hardware store. They want a commercial developer. They're trying to solve their problems, I'm trying to solve mine," he said.

Rarey said the parcel is better suited for a small park with a brick walkway by which residents could then cross Main Street safely on their way to programs at Groveport's Town Hall.

Council member Jean Ann Hilbert said the city would economically benefit by allowing Land to purchase the property.

"If you increase (your) building, you increase the income tax that comes our way," she said.

Council member Ed Dildine said the sale of the property was a good fit for the city.

"We've tried to address the problem. People weren't beating down the doors to buy (that) property. It has been quoted as a 'missing tooth' on Main Street. Let's fill it in," Dildine said.

Hall said the parcel was sold for what it was worth.

"The purchase price is what the appraised value of the property is as it sits now with no buildings," she said.

She said the CIC originally purchased the property "as part of a large revitalization plan that was going to take place. At some point, that kind of went by the wayside."