North Broadway turn lane

Work on track to begin this month after agreement


An agreement between the North Broadway Street Association and city officials will pave the way for paving to begin on time for a controversial Clintonville turn-lane project.

The organization has a lawsuit pending against the city and other entities regarding a dispute over right-of-way along East North Broadway, and had filed a request for a temporary restraining order to block construction of a turn lane at North High Street that's to begin later this month.

"The court has been advised by the parties that they have agreed to resolve the pending request for injunctive relief relating to the construction of the left-turn lane on East North Broadway Street at the intersection of North High Street as set forth in the following stipulations," Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy S. Horton wrote in an order filed Friday, July 26.

The North Broadway Street Association has agreed to withdraw the motion for a temporary restraining order and to pursue no further action, Horton wrote, and in exchange, the city won't object if and when homeowners seek compensation for land taken or used during construction -- if that land is, in fact, determined to belong to the homeowners.

Basically, North Broadway Street Association President Carole W. Tomko said Monday, July 29, city officials have indicated the construction project, which will add a lane allowing westbound motorists to turn south on High Street, will not involve any land in the disputed 15 feet of right of way.

"The issue we've had all along is that we have this disputed claim on the width of the property," Tomko said.

The deeds of East North Broadway property owners near the intersection with North High Street say public right of way is only 70 feet, not the 100 feet city officials claim, Tomko said. The narrower right of way is the result of action taken more than a half-century ago by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

"The city has agreed and represents that the actual widening of East North Broadway Street as part of the construction of a left-turn lane will not extend into the disputed 15-foot strips that were allegedly vacated by the county to the residents of East North Broadway Street on Oct. 7, 1952," the court order states.

"The city further represents that the only work to be performed on the disputed 15-foot strips consists exclusively of grass seeding adjacent to the sidewalk, installation of four new trees, and replacing a portion of the driveway at the Starbucks property ... "

"Our primary concern all along is if the city is crossing that line ... that legal issue about the property dispute be resolved before any construction," Tomko said. "They have every right to operate in our opinion within that 70 feet. There was nothing to enjoin them about."

The lawsuit the street association filed in 2010 regarding the right of way will continue, the group's president added.

"While they are staying within the 70 feet, they are maintaining that they would have the right to be within the 100 feet, even though they're not going to use it," Tomko said. "Our reaction is we need to ... once and for all get that resolved, because the property records along there are inconsistent.

"It's either one or the other."

Decker Construction has been awarded the contract of $308,960 for the turn-lane project. Work is scheduled to begin later this month and the firm has been given 75 days in which to complete the job.