Members of the Westland Area Commission agreed July 17 to create a steering committee in order to expand the organization's boundaries.
The decision came at the commission's monthly meeting, where Michael Puckett from the Columbus Department of Development walked members through a process that could last well over a year.
Commission member Dave Van Order was prompted to look into expanding the WAC's borders after fielding questions and concerns from residents in the Roberts Road area, a neighborhood that is not represented by a city commission.
The current northern border of the WAC is defined by the Conrail railroad tracks just north of West Broad Street. The southern WAC border is defined by Big Run South Road; the eastern border is at Interstate 270 and the western border is Alton Road.
The WAC -- like other area commissions in the city -- is an advisory body established to participate in planning and decision-making in tandem with Columbus City Council. It also was created to help facilitate communication among neighborhood groups, city officials and potential developers.
"Changing boundaries is the same as starting a new commission," Puckett said. "It has been done before. You first need to dissolve the current area commission, then start a new one."
For that process to begin, Puckett said the WAC will need to collect 500 signatures on a petition within the Westland area boundaries. A steering committee is formed to construct bylaws for the new commission. The group can either keep the name Westland Area Commission or come up with a new one, Puckett said.
"It takes about a year-and-a-half," Puckett said. "That's just the way it works."
Van Order said he wants a steering committee to be established and wants it to meet as soon as August. Commission members agreed.
"If I lived in the area, I would like to be represented," Van Order said. "We have 12 available seats on the commission. I would like to see all of those filled. This is certainly worth a try."
In other business July 17, commission member Mike McKay updated members on a future zoning issue. McKay said he has been in contact with a man who wants to build a storage unit facility at Hall and Galloway roads.
"I let him know that we particularly weren't for it and some in the area oppose it," McKay said.
He said the man then looked into other locations, but still thinks the Hall and Galloway road location would be the best fit for the storage facility.
"He believes that this is his top location," McKay said. "He would like to present at a future commission meeting and get the process started."
WAC member Adam Slane said he is not opposed to the business coming into the area, but the man must prove that it would be successful.
Commission member Marian Hymer said she would not like to see a storage facility built at that site.
"I think it can be more positively developed than storage," Hymer said. "That's too good of a corner for it to be storage."
The next Westland Area Commission meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital on West Broad Street. The commission will not meet in August.