What a difference a year makes.

A year ago, with the usual three Clintonville Area Commission seats up for election, only one of the races drew more than a single candidate.

In addition, in the District 7 race to replace Jason Meek, only 15 votes were cast, with John Eschenbrenner receiving eight to defeat Michael S. Weinman.

In District 4, incumbent Judy Minister was unopposed, as was former District 5 representative Dana Bagwell in her bid to replace Matthew Cull.

This year, three people have taken out paperwork to run in District 8, and two people took packets in each of districts 3 and 6.

"We're delighted with the response to our information about the availability of seats on the commission," said Ann Henkener, chairwoman for the past three years of the elections committee.

Prospective candidates for the districts had until March 30 to return completed packets, including at least 50 signatures of residents in the district they hope to represent. CAC Chairwoman Libby Wetherholt said the ones already apparently running will be introduced at the CAC's meeting Thursday, April 4.

The session will run from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 3909 N. High St.

Wetherholt, who represents District 3, is the lone incumbent running, although the commission's bylaws bar her from staying on as chairwoman.

Chad Wells also took out a candidate package for District 3, Henkener said.

In District 6, where Randy Ketcham opted not to run, Mary Relotto and Kendra Carpenter obtained packets. In District 8, with Christopher Allwein stepping down, James Garrison, Ty Hulbert and Athena Yiamouyiannis all indicated plans to run, Henkener said.

"I don't know what caused the difference or where people found out the information, but I'm certainly delighted," she said.

Also on the April 4 agenda, Wetherholt said, will be a variance request to permit two single-family homes in the first block of East California Avenue to be used as just that: single-family dwellings.

The request comes from the owners of Balanced Family Academy, who have purchased the former Southwick-Good & Fortkamp Funeral Chapel at 3100 N. High St. for another day care location.

The purchase included the homes at 27 and 31 E. California Ave.

"They are planning on selling them," Wetherholt said. "They don't want the houses but they had to buy them, so they are trying to prepare everything for resale."

The variance is needed because, at some point in the past, those houses were rezoned commercial.

Residential uses are prohibited under city code on the first floor of property zoned for commercial uses.

"There are nonconforming homes on each lot that are recognized legal uses, but the owner desires to confirm the first-floor use as residential on properties zoned C-4," attorney Jackson B. Reynolds III wrote on the variance application. "The granting of the variance will not change the use of the property nor impact the neighborhood."

"It was decades ago, so I'm not totally sure," Wetherholt said of the switch from residential to commercial zoning. "I think perhaps they thought that's the way the blocks would go, would go commercial somehow, so they decided to go ahead and make them all C-4."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1