One important ballot issue in a small town like Grandview Heights typically is enough to send crowds streaming into the polling places.

This year, Grandview has four, count 'em, four local issues on the ballot for Tuesday, Nov. 6.

They range from an issue that could change the face of Grandview Heights Schools for generations, to another that fixes past generations' slip-ups in the city's charter.

Already cast your vote? Congratulations -- you've fulfilled your civic duty. Waiting until Election Day? Here's what you need to know when you step up to the box Nov. 6:

To build or not to build

Issue 6 is the big one: Grandview Heights Schools' 8.51-mill combined bond issue and operating levy that would fund a $55.2 million rebuilding plan.

The ballot issue is the culmination of two years of work by officials to devise a plan for the district's "obsolete" and, in some cases, century-old school buildings, which leaders say are prone to flooding, falling plaster and other hazards.

District leaders also say the proposed project -- which would include construction of a new 4-8 building on the site of the current Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, comprehensive renovations of Grandview Heights High School and limited upgrades to Stevenson Elementary School -- could allow the district to provide the kinds of 21st-century learning spaces that are necessary in today's educational environment.

On the other hand, the issue -- which would cost taxpayers $239 more annually per $100,000 in property value -- has frustrated some residents for various reasons. Some of those reasons include its price tag, its ballot packaging with an operating levy and the opinion that the razing of Edison/Larson -- parts of which were built as late as 1996 -- is unnecessary.

The issue has spurred both pro and con campaigns, both of which are waiting impatiently to learn how this long story ends.

Grandview yards

Issue 31 caused controversy before it even found its way to the ballot.

If it passes, it would expand the scope of Grandview's Green Space Overlay District, created in 1989, that covers all lots on the north side of Goodale Boulevard between Broadview Avenue and Wyandotte Road, as well as lots on the south side of Goodale between Grandview Avenue and Lincoln Road.

The overlay district requires the front yards of all properties within the area to be at least 100 feet deep and side yards to be at least 25 feet deep.

The new ordinance proposed in the ballot initiative would set a minimum front yard of 200 feet on the north side of Goodale between Urlin Avenue and Wyandotte Road. The minimum front-yard requirement would be 150 feet on Stonegate Village Drive.

City administration objected to the resident-led initiative, with officials saying such a decision takes away, without due process, the right of a property owner to seek redevelopment of their property.

But after the Franklin County Board of Elections deadlocked on the issue, Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled for the residents, allowing it to appear on the ballot.

Mulling marijuana

Issue 32 is a vote that might not make much difference in the short term but could come into play later on as Ohio's medical-marijuana laws solidify.

Grandview Heights City Council voted 4-3 in April to prohibit medical-marijuana dispensaries in the city, several months after approving legislation to ban cultivation and processing operations.

Residents then led a push to place a referendum on the ballot, with the potential to overturn City Council's decision.

In the meantime, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced the locations of the five medical-marijuana dispensaries allotted for Franklin County -- and none are in Grandview. However, one is planned for 656 Grandview Ave., just outside city limits.

With the locations already chosen, the issue would appear to be moot, but referendum backers say it's uncertain what the state could decide in the future, so those in support of allowing a dispensary in Grandview should vote to overturn the city's ban in any case.

Some city leaders, meanwhile, have said with aspects of the state's medical-marijuana laws still hazy, a wait-and-see approach might be prudent.

Chartered territory

With three tough local decisions, Grandview voters might welcome Issue 30, which hasn't generated any backlash.

The issue would approve a few minuscule changes to the city charter suggested by a commission that convenes every 10 years to go through the city's "constitution" with a fine-toothed comb.

For the most part, the only changes proposed this year are typo fixes and the addition of the word not in one passage for clarification.

Issue 30 also would give local candidates for public office 15 more days to file their petitions.

The commission briefly discussed asking voters if they wanted to switch to the weak-mayor form of government used by many central Ohio suburbs, but decided against it.

Metro Parks and more

So outside of Grandview, what else is on the ballot? Plenty, it turns out.

In addition to numerous congressional and statewide races -- including the contentious battle between Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray to replace outgoing Gov. John Kasich -- Grandview voters will join the rest of Franklin County in voting on Issue 3, a 10-year, 0.95-mill operating levy for Metro Parks.

The levy would increase homeowners' taxes by $12.82 annually per $100,000 in property valuation.

Metro Parks has said it will use the funds to open new parks, build trails and expand programming.

The parks system currently is building its 20th park, Quarry Trails, just northwest of Grandview.

The statewide Issue 1 also would reduce penalties for those convicted of possessing or using illegal drugs.

With so much to consider, voters would be advised to give themselves a few extra minutes at the ballot box Nov. 6 -- or, better yet, vote early. In-person early voting will remain open until 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at the board of elections, 1700 Morse Road in Columbus.

For more in-depth information on Grandview's local issues and other important levies and ballot questions around central Ohio, visit ThisWeekNEWS.com/elections.

dlaycock@thisweeknews.com

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