Grove City Record

Final session of 2013

Council refuses to let parcel go, backs park

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Grove City officials cited safety concerns and clarity in service and zoning as they rejected a resident's application to detach his property from the city.

On Dec. 16, council voted 3-1 against Thomas Bloomer's request to detach his property at 6851 Jackson Pike from Grove City and have it added to Jackson Township.

Councilwoman Melissa Albright cast the sole vote in favor of the detachment while members Steve Bennett, Maria Klemack-McGraw and Jeff Davis voted against it. Council President Ted Berry was absent.

Bloomer said he purchased the property in 1999 but does not receive a lot in terms of city services.

"The piece of property is just barely within the tip of Ward 3," he said. "We don't have any water service. There's no sewer service."

Bloomer said detaching would be a better fit, adding that he would like to sport shoot in his backyard and raise some chickens.

"I feel it would further enhance my family's living," he said. "It really enhances our rural living."

Deputy City Administrator and Director of Public Safety Bill Vedra said there are concerns about public safety. If the property were to become detached, 911 calls would go to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, which Vedra said had the potential to create confusion if one of the neighbors reported an emergency at Bloomer's property or vice versa.

"The potential for confusion is great," Vedra said, adding that there was also concern about Bloomer's plans for sport shooting.

City Law Director Stephen Smith said "de-annexation" by itself could cause issues.

If the request to detach the property had been approved, it would still be bound on three sides by Grove City.

"We've now created an island of township," Smith said. "We'll no longer control the zoning."

In other business:

* Council voted 4-0 to use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money to buy nearly 34 acres to develop into parkland for the Pinnacle development area on the east side of Interstate 71.

The land the city is buying costs $2 million, or about $58,000 per acre. Grove City will pay $500,000 with money from the Pinnacle Tax Increment Equivalent Fund, money paid in lieu of taxes by the residents of Pinnacle and set aside to be used for public improvements there. The rest will be paid in installments using TIF money on March 1, 2015; April 1, 2015; and March 1, 2016.

No plans have been developed for what kind of programming or features the future park would have, but the city parks and recreation department's 2011 comprehensive plan identified the Pinnacle/Creekside area as being in need of more park space.

* Council marked the final session of Albright, whose term is expiring at the end of the year.

Albright, the Ward 3 representative, did not seek re-election this fall. Councilman Steve Bennett, the current at-large representative, was elected to her seat in November while Laura Lanese was elected to his seat.

"You can't do this job without loving this city," Albright said. "Things are going in a great direction."

At the end of the meeting, the rest of city council and Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage presented Albright with a resolution of appreciation for her service, which began on Jan. 22, 2010. During that time, she served as chairwoman of the safety and service committees.

"It's not an easy job," Stage said. "She has absolutely committed herself to our city."

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