Clintonville Area Commission members voted Thursday, March 7, to postpone a decision on whether to reverse course and once again back a controversial left-turn lane at North High Street and East North Broadway.
The commission has scheduled a special meeting on that subject alone for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Beechwold Christian Church, 280 Morse Road.
The absence March 7 of one of the nine members due to illness prompted Chairman Daniel J. Miller to propose postponing a vote on a resolution to once again support a plan city officials have devised to permit motorists traveling westbound on East North Broadway to turn south on North High Street.
District 2 representative Nancy Kuhel, whose territory begins directly across North High Street from the proposed project, has viral pneumonia, according to discussion at the outset of this week’s monthly meeting.
“She obviously wants to participate in it because it’s an important issue to her, as it is to probably everybody in this room,” Miller said.
Dana K.G. Bagwell of District 5 objected to any delay.
“I’m concerned we’re heading down a slippery slope as commissions in the past have done,” she said.
Kuhel didn’t want to develop pneumonia and miss the meeting, District 3 representative James R. Blazer II pointed out in backing the postponement.
“It’s only a courteous thing for the commission to do,” he said.
By two 6-2 votes -- the two-thirds majority required under the CAC’s bylaws -- the members on hand approved a change in the order of the meeting’s agenda and Miller’s motion to postpone the discussion. Bagwell and D Searcy of District 9 voted against both measures.
That this would be the case was evidently known in advance by some on the advisory panel.
Searcy arrived at the meeting with a typed letter, signed by Jason Meek of District 7, Bagwell of District 5 and Kristopher Keller of District 8, calling for a special session on either March 14 or 21.
Miller said he favored the later date in order to give Kuhel more time to recover from what he referred to as her “ill-timed illness.”
Some in the audience reacted angrily to the move to delay a decision on what has become a divisive issue within the neighborhood.
“Tell us something,” one man said loudly. “Tell us what you’re going to do.”
“We’ll address these things later,” Miller said, adding that he would ask the man to leave if there were any further outbursts while also thanking him for his comments.
The resolution that was to have been considered at the meeting was first circulated by Miller via mail the morning of Feb. 27.
The proposal basically would return the panel’s position to what it was prior to a surprise vote taken at an October 2010 special meeting.
The resolution once again would have the commission favor using the “existing right-of-way on the northern side of East North Broadway … between North High Street and Broadway Place to widen the roadway pavement between approximately three feet, at Broadway Place, and 10 feet, at North High Street …” for the purpose of accommodating a left-turn lane for westbound traffic to go south on High Street.
Left turns currently are prohibited to motorists traveling in that direction.
The project is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the North Broadway Street Association in November 2010 against the city, county, Ohio Department of Transportation and others seeking to block the needed right-of-way acquisition. The suit maintains that actions taken by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in October 1952 gave residents along East North Broadway what had been public right of way as private property.