Columbia Gas of Ohio and the German Village Society are no closer to a compromise on the relocation of natural-gas meters in the neighborhood.

Columbia Gas of Ohio said the meters, now located inside some residences and businesses in the historic district, belong outside for maintenance, safety and convenience for the property owner.

Officials from the public utility want be "a good partner" in negotiations, but remain committed to relocating the devices to the exterior of properties, said Kelli Nowinsky, spokeswoman for Columbus Gas of Ohio.

"Meters on the outside of homes are safe," Nowinsky said. "We are not going to make decisions or do anything to put our customers at risk."

At a public meeting April 25 in the German Village Meeting Haus, quite a different scenario was presented.

Nancy Kotting, historic preservation advocate for the Society, questioned the stability of the meters, which she said are subject to damage from extreme weather, plowing of snow and errant automobiles.

"Friends, this project must be stopped," she said at the meeting.

Columbia Gas of Ohio plans to replace 3,000 feet of main and service lines as early as this summer in German Village.

The project includes 112 customers -- both residential and commercial -- along portions of City Park Avenue, Blenkner, Hoster, Willow, High and South Pearl streets and a short stretch of East Livingston Avenue.

German Village Society officials said moving the gas meters to the exterior of properties would create a blemish on homes in the historic district, even though 25 percent of gas meters already are located on the outside of properties.

Kotting urged residents to continue to fight the plan.

Columbia Gas' long-term goal is to move all gas meters in the district and beyond to the outside of properties, Nowinsky said.

She said the gas company will work with residents on an appropriate relocation site outside. Natural barriers -- bushes, trees and tall grass -- are encouraged to help shield the meters from view, Nowinksy said.

Property owners also are at liberty to paint their gas meters to help them blend in with their surroundings.

Kotting said camouflaging techniques are "not an acceptable remedy in the world of historic preservation."

This is not the first time Villagers have been faced with a mandate many believed would alter the character of the district.

In 2012, the city of Columbus expanded its citywide residential curbside recycling pickup into new areas, including German Village.

That plan upset many residents who said there was no room for the large, blue receptacles. Others said they would have been happy to pay for curbside recycling as long as they could use smaller containers.

The city ultimately did not acquiesce and Villagers were forced to live with the blue 64-gallon containers, many of which are visible from the street.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary