Northwest News

Environmental Court judge set to attend NWCA session

By

A special guest speaker is on tap for the next monthly meeting of the Northwest Civic Association board of trustees.

Daniel R. Hawkins, Franklin County Environmental Court judge, is scheduled to visit with trustees and Northwest Side residents Wednesday, Sept. 3.

NWCA meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held in Room 213 in Meadow Park Church of God, 2425 Bethel Road.

Hawkins, formerly head of the special victims unit for the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, was appointed to replace Environmental Court Judge Harland Hale in July 2012 and later elected to the fulfill the unexpired term.

"The environmental court is unique in the state of Ohio, with jurisdiction over local laws related to housing, construction, zoning, fire, health, air pollution and sanitation," John Ehlers, president of the NWCA board, wrote on the civic association's website.

"Have a problem the city can't solve? Judge Hawkins might be able to help," Ehlers said.

Hawkins has taken an aggressive approach to shuttering nuisance properties, particularly motels that have experienced problems with drugs, prostitution and other crimes.

He is scheduled to speak during the meeting prior to the usual reports from city representatives and civic group committees.

Prior to the start of the Sept. 3 session, Ehlers said the trustees plan to get together to discuss committees, the possibility of creating more and who wants to serve on specific committees.

Two new trustees, Jeri Milstead and Julie Schlosser, came on board at the August session following the recess break traditionally taken in July.

"We just find the needs of the community change," Ehlers said last week.

"When we get new board members the skills of the board members are in a little different combination," he said.

"So we try to match skills to what those needs are."

NWCA Graphics and Zoning Chairwoman Rosemarie Lisko in particular could use some help in shouldering the load of variances and other requests that have been coming before the trustees of late, Ehlers said.

Lisko has been "very generous with her time and just a wonderful resource for Northwest Columbus," Ehlers said.

"We know that things change in terms of what needs to be done because the city comes and asks (the Northwest Civic Association) to assist in different activities such as the 10-year parks plan," Ehlers said.

It might be difficult, however, to create committees today that will address possible issues or problems in the future, he said.

"It's awfully hard to see where the needs are going to be," Ehlers said.

Comments