Columbia Gas of Ohio and the German Village Society representatives failed to find common ground on the matter of gas-meter relocation in the neighborhood, leaving the decision up to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

The two sides met for three hours Aug. 22 in PUCO headquarters in downtown Columbus for a formal attempt at mediation but remain at an impasse, said Nancy Kotting, the German Village Society's historic preservation advocate.

"The German Village Society remains steadfast in our position that in an urban environment such as ours, one filled with threats beyond our control, (it is) best to leave gas meters indoors," said Nancy Kotting, the society's preservation advocate, who would not discuss details of the meeting.

"Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our residents and visitors," Kotting said.

"In addition, we find the relocation of a gas meter to the primary facade of the original (German Village) Meeting Haus and offices of the German Village Society profoundly unfortunate in the face of our current negotiations," she said.

Columbia Gas will continue with its line-replacement effort in the northwest portion of the historic district.

"We have not reached an agreement with the German Village Society, but we have successfully reached agreement with the majority of our customers in the project area to find safe, aesthetically pleasing exterior meter locations," said Kristin Begg, spokeswoman for Columbia Gas.

Part of the work, which affects 112 business and residential customers, includes relocating gas meters from the interior of properties to the exterior -- the central point of the dispute.

Matt Schilling, spokesman for PUCO, said the organization's board of commissioners will, during a formal meeting, make a decision about the society's request to stop to the project.

Meanwhile, the transmission line-replacement project continues and is slated to be completed in the next 30 days -- ahead of the commissioners' vote on the meter relocations.

The society has pledged to pursue the issue, as Columbia Gas said it intends to move all interior gas meters outside throughout the state as a matter of safety and convenience.

Society officials say they believe such a move is unsafe and violates national preservation standards.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary