Hilliard economic-development director David Meeks said only time will tell how a mandatory 60-day waiting period for rezonings from the approval of Issue 9 would affect the city.

Hilliard economic-development director David Meeks said only time will tell how a mandatory 60-day waiting period for rezonings from the approval of Issue 9 would affect the city.

"We've been given a new set of rules and will do the best we can. Now that it has passed, only time will tell," Meeks said March 22.

Issue 9 was an amendment to Hilliard's city charter that voters overwhelming approved March 15.

According to the final unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, 7,755 voters -- 72 percent of those who cast ballots -- were in favor of the amendment; 2,955 people cast votes against it.

As a result, the charter will prohibit rezonings by emergency action of City Council and ban tax-increment-financing districts for residential developments or residential components of developments.

Meeks said he wouldn't need to tell future developers upfront about potential hurdles that could result from the changes.

"They know. The development community is concerned about what has happened in Hilliard," Meeks said. "From our perspective, we will continue to aggressively market ourselves (and) it will come down to the perception of the developer and how fast we can get (projects going)."

Some proponents of the charter amendment contend the administration overstated the potential loss of development.

"(The changes) don't apply to commercial development. They apply only to using TIFs for residential development," said Les Carrier, a Hilliard City Council member and co-founder of Keep Hilliard Beautiful, a committee that circulated a charter-change petition last year and secured a writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court of Ohio to compel Hilliard City Council to place the issue on the ballot.

Carrier, Hilliard school board members Paul Lambert and Andy Teater and Norwich Township Trustee Larry Earman formed the nucleus of Keep Hilliard Beautiful.

"I've never seen anything like it this," Carrier said upon the March 15 approval of Issue 9. "It's a huge win for the community. They spoke very loudly (at the polls)."

Keep Hilliard Beautiful formed in the wake of emergency action by City Council last August to rezone land north of Davidson Road that allowed for the construction of 218 apartments.

A TIF district also was applied to the development.

"(That) emergency vote got us here, but (Issue 9) has culminated in a community conversation about how we want to develop in the future," Carrier said. "Keep Hilliard Beautiful will stick around and continue to advocate for what we think is best."

City officials, including Mayor Don Schonhardt, City Council President Nathan Painter and Meeks, campaigned against Issue 9, opining its passage would have a sharp and sudden negative impact on the city's ability to compete for quality commercial and residential developments.

"We will wait and see how it all plays out," Meeks said.

Looking back, he said, the campaign was stressful on him and others who campaigned against Issue 9.

"I wish it could have been done differently, but that was the path (the proponents) chose," Meeks said.

He questioned why Carrier and his companions chose a referendum as a first choice of action.

Carrier responded that it was the residents who chose the city's path.

"The people spoke. ... They did not want residential TIFs. We followed the process outlined in the charter (and) now we know the actual number is thousands of people who agree (with our position)," he said March 22.

Carrier said he is ready to move forward and hopes for cooperation.

"It is important we begin to work together as one community and not be divisive in order to attempt to gain in the short term. ... Economic development needs to be a win for the entire community and all the agencies that serve us," Carrier said.

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