The Northland Community Council, which has suffered some attrition recently, is poised to grow by one new member.

The Northland Community Council, which has suffered some attrition recently, is poised to grow by one new member.

Council president Dave Paul said the Blendon Meadows Civic Association, also known as McDannald Estates, has applied for membership.

"It sort of came as a shot out of the dark, a very welcome shot out of the dark, that they were interested in coming into NCC," Paul said.

The community council was down to a total of 23 member civic organizations.

Last October, the Little Turtle Civic Association was expelled for failing to have a representative at 16 straight monthly meetings.

In December, Devonshire Civic Association president Chuck Parker announced that the 48-year old organization would cease to exist at the end of 2010. Parker blamed a lack of participation for the decision.

So, Paul said, it was welcome news that Blendon Meadows, a community at the intersection of state Route 161 and Sunbury Road, wanted to come on board.

"It is kind of a big deal to us," he said. "I think it is, especially at the moment when we know civic associations are struggling. Some of them are fading into obscurity or at least into hiatus, and we hope it is hiatus. Folks are struggling to find the time to volunteer."

"We've lost several in the past couple of years," he said.

Why the leaders of Blendon Meadows Civic Association should desire to become part of the community council is not known. Association president Rhonda J. Williams Evans was contacted on March 23. After initially expressing some surprise that the application would be considered news, Evans agreed to a telephone interview but later changed her mind.

"This is just not an appropriate time," she said. "There may be other opportunities in the future."

Strength in numbers might be one possible explanation for the Blendon Woods Civic Association wanting to come into the NCC fold.

The neighborhood, which also encompasses two current NCC-member groups, the Woodstream East and West civic associations, sits near one of the last undeveloped parcels of any size in the Northland area: 75 acres on the southeastern side of the I-270/ Route 161 interchange along Sunbury Road that have been kept from being developed by dozens of deed restrictions that won't expire until Dec. 31, 2034, according to a Feb. 22 story that ran in The Columbus Dispatch.

The latest attempt to develop the site, once planned as an office park, comes from the Pizzuti Cos.

"Pizzuti has pitched an idea that includes 500,000 square feet of offices, a hotel, restaurants and 200 apartments in the neighborhood's backyard," according to the story by staff writer Mark Ferenchik. "The deed restrictions forbid pretty much all of that, except for the offices.

"Even that would be tricky."

The deed restrictions, according to an online history of McDannald Estates, were negotiated by Blendon Meadows Civic Association president Ted Turner in the 1980s in response to interest from developers in building on the acreage that surrounded the community.

Samuel McDannald and his family migrated to Ohio from Virginia in the early 1800s, the online history relates. He acquired more than 360 acres of land at Sunbury and East Dublin Granville roads.

Eventually, the family built a home that became part of the Underground Railroad that assisted escaped slaves to make their way from the South to slave-free territories.

"The Underground Railroad house was demolished in the early 1980s when a manager was not available to complete the plans to make the house a national landmark," the history states.

The housing development began in the 1950s.

"Oliver and Fern Harris, when purchasing their home at 5733 Sunbury Road, had to challenge acreage deed restrictions which stated, 'said premises shall be owned or occupied by members of the Caucasian race only,' " according to the history.

"Today, McDannald Estates is comprised of over 40 developed acres, with new home investments near of exceeding $500,000. We are a community of over 80 families who love calling it home."

The procedure for taking in new NCC members, Paul said, is for the executive committee to review the association's bylaws and governing documents to make sure they don't in any way conflict with the council's regulations. He said recently that the Blendon Meadows documents appeared to be "all very standard" and the vote on adding the group to the NCC would most likely take place at the April 5 meeting.

"I don't think it's something that's going to generate a lot of debate," Paul said.