Where does one Clintonville Area Commission district end and another begin?
The answer to that question is murkier than it seems, given the detailed language contained in the panel's bylaws describing the boundaries.
Chairwoman Libby Wetherholt wants to dispense with the confusion for once and for all.
Wetherholt recently announced the formation of a District Boundary Clarification Task Force, to which she appointed herself, D Searcy of District 9, Christopher Allwein of District 8 and District 6 representative Randy Ketcham.
The commission separates Clintonville into nine districts, stretching roughly as far south as Arcadia Avenue and Glen Echo Park, north to the Worthington border, west to the Olentangy River and east to Interstate 71.
Each district is represented on the CAC by one member, responsible for addressing issues and problems within his or her area. Each representative's phone number or email address is listed at the CAC's website, clintonvilleareacommission.org.
Wetherholt said the new group came about because of another CAC committee -- the one that deals with elections.
Ann Henkener, chairwoman of the CAC's elections committee, said she was trying to make sure she understood the boundaries of District 9, one of three up for election in May. In perusing the descriptions included in the bylaws, Henkener had one interpretation, but longtime committee member Nancy Stewart had another, Wetherholt said.
"Nancy had certain understandings," the CAC chairwoman said. "I got involved and we started looking at some of it. It just seems that there were some descriptions in the boundaries that have been there as long as anyone can remember. There were some misunderstandings -- or maybe not misunderstandings but crossdirectional wording -- about actual boundaries. And then some boundary lore has been handed down that kind of disagrees."
"I've lived here for 52 years, so I've known all these years where the boundary has been," Stewart said.
But during times of disputes over development in northern Clintonville, those boundaries, it seemed, were subject to minor alterations, she said.
"When you read what's in the bylaws, it's really difficult to interpret because it says 'westward this way' and 'northwards that way' and all that," Searcy said.
Searcy, currently the longest-serving commission member, said over the years she's heard the border between her district and District 8 described variously as the middle of Graceland Shopping Center, the center line of Fenway Road and the midpoint of Broad Meadows Boulevard.
"To me," Ketcham said, "it seems like this whole issue is about the northern boundary of District 6, which would be the southern boundary of District 9, which has always been kind of nebulous."
Like Searcy, Ketcham said he's heard different versions of where the boundary lies.
"Frankly, I think it's good that we're trying to address this issue," he said. "If you look at the other districts, most of them have obvious physical landmarks. I think it's a good idea because it's always been confusing to me.
"It's bad when I don't know the exact northern boundary of my district."
"Basically, we want to go in and clean up the language and make sure that anyone who reads the bylaws can understand them," Searcy said. "The idea is to make sure it doesn't vary based on the person who is interpreting it."
"I just decided it's time to update these and make sure they're accurate and everyone can agree on the boundaries," Wetherholt said. "It's not a total big deal, but it was enough of it that ... I thought, let's just get this ironed out."
The borders between the districts up for election as currently interpreted will remain in place until after the voting, the chairwoman said.
"Nothing's going to change until after the vote," Wetherholt added. "If the actual descriptions change, that would be a bylaws change and that takes two meetings. There's no huge rush. I'm kind of looking at the July reorganization meeting, actually."