Frank Bertone wants to be a new voice in the city of Powell.
The candidate looking to fill one of four open spots on Powell City Council said he is using the "New Voice" slogan because the current council members don't value community input as much as they should prior to voting on legislation.
"I went to a council meeting to speak on the Murphy Parkway extension and there were 50 to 60 people there telling them 'We don't need this' and, 'We don't want this.' And without much discussion it was a seven-to-nothing vote and council said 'We're moving on to engineering.' That left a real heartburn in me," Bertone recalled.
"When I speak of a new voice in Powell, I'm saying I'm not the same person you've been seeing for the last four years and my primary focus on council would be aligned with the needs of the residents."
Instead of extending Murphy Parkway, Bertone said he would lobby council to consider other methods for dealing with traffic congestion and spend the available levy funds on bike paths and parks.
Bertone said presenting a mindful approach to zoning and annexation is another important aspect of his campaign.
"When I think of this entire election, it, in some respects, is about zoning," he said. "With all the development possibilities, there are a lot of (developers) lining up to really get into Powell and Liberty Township and not all of them have the best interests of the residents in mind. When we talk to developers we have to look down past the tip of our noses at them and ask better questions of them and how they're going to affect and help our community."
Bertone, who owns an apartment complex in Columbus, said he wouldn't vote to approve apartments in Powell unless they were low density and the complex considered implementing an age restriction for residents. He said he would like to see more small businesses and single-family housing developments fill the developable city plots.
He said as the city develops, council members should keep in close contact with Liberty Township trustees to ensure that they're working together to make the entire region a better place.
If it were legal to have all City Council members and township trustees over his house outside of public session, Bertone said that's how he'd work to reduce tension between the two groups. Instead, he's planning to extend an invite to one elected official at a time to gain a well-rounded perspective on community issues.
"I love to cook, and there is nothing like having dinner, talking and getting to know somebody with a different point of view," he said. "We have a vested interest in seeing both sides succeed."
Bertone, 43, has worked at Nationwide for 20 years and is a member of the retirement plan sales group there.
He and his wife, Julie, have lived for 10 years in the Lakes of Powell, where he serves as a trustee of the home owners association. They have three daughters, two whom attend Olentangy schools.