Representatives of the Nature Conservancy in Ohio say the Hilliard Comprehensive Plan doesn't do enough to protect the Big Darby Creek and its tributaries.

Representatives of the Nature Conservancy in Ohio say the Hilliard Comprehensive Plan doesn’t do enough to protect the Big Darby Creek and its tributaries.

Marcia Brehmer, representing the Nature Conservancy in Ohio, was the only member of the public to speak on the plan at Hilliard City Council’s Sept. 26 meeting, where the comprehensive plan received its second reading.

Brehmer said she provided council with a letter from Anthony Sasson, their freshwater conservation manager. His letter states, “The plan needs to be improved to protect Big Darby Creek and its tributaries.”

Brehmer said that the plan should ensure that a development fee contribution of $2,500 per residential unit built in the Hilliard conservation development district be placed in a fund to implement Big Darby Accord requirements, preserve open space in the Big Darby focus area, and restore the riparian corridor along the Hamilton and Clover Groff runs.

After Brehmer spoke, council member Albert Iosue asked that the administration look over the letter.

Mayor Don Schonhardt said that the Nature Conservancy was attempting to place more restrictions on the city.

“We do take exception to that,” Schonhardt said, “since we have signed the Darby Accord and abided by that throughout its existence, and intend to continue to do so.”

Prior to the council meeting, the committee of the whole met for about an hour as Perry Morgan of Stantec Consulting and James M. Houk of Bird Houk gave a presentation on the comprehensive plan. They said the plan touts four focus areas of future development — Old Hilliard, the I-270 corridor, the retired railroad corridor, and the Big Darby. Of those areas, Old Hilliard was deemed the most important, and possible changes included having more two- and three-story buildings.

Morgan said that Hilliard should take advantage of its railroad heritage, and use the retired railroad corridor to connect neighborhoods.

Council member Jim Ashenhurst said he liked the comprehensive plan and thought it should be passed quickly. Council will vote on whether to adopt the plan at its next meeting, Oct. 24.