City approves latest package of principles

Hilliard joins Columbus, Brown Township as entities that have passed resolutions favoring the Big Darby Accord.


Hilliard city officials are on board with the latest version of the Big Darby Accord's planning principles.

All six council members at Monday night's meeting voted in favor of a resolution supporting the Big Darby Accord's eight revised planning principles. Councilwoman Kim Allison took an excused absence from the meeting.

The accord, which is made up of 10 local jurisdictions, was designed to create and implement a multi-jurisdictional land-use plan for the environmentally sensitive Big Darby Creek watershed.

Portions of Hilliard, Grove City, Harrisburg, Columbus, as well as unincorporated portions of Brown, Norwich, Washington, Prairie and Pleasant townships, are included in the watershed. The area includes 20,000 acres.

Accord members have been working with EDAW Inc., a consulting company, to create a development plan for the area and were key in revising the principles, which were released March 3.

The main difference the latest version of the Big Darby Accord planning principles is that a provision allowing for the transfer of development rights program has been removed said Butch Seidle, Hilliard's director of public service.

Mechanisms for revenue sharing among accord members and a limited provision for the Columbus' extension of water and sewer services without annexation are included in the principles. Plans for central sewer services in defined growth areas remain as well.
Seidle previously said Columbus and Brown Township have already approved resolutions supporting the plan, while others are still considering it.

The principles are improved but they may never be perfect, said Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt.

Hilliard's focus will continue to be responsible development and the continued enhancement of water quality, he said.

City Council also introduced an ordinance to appropriate about $26,200 to further fund EDAW's development plans. Planning will continue through June 30, the expiration date of a moratorium imposed on the land.

In other business, council members unanimously voted to adopt the city's latest capital improvements program covering fiscal years 2006 through 2010.

The total cost of the five-year program, which funds the city's transportation, lands and buildings, sanitary sewer systems and other planned projects, is $87.1 million.

Transportation upgrades, including roadway projects, account for the bulk of the spending. The cost for such projects is set at $53 million for the five-year period.

City Council voted down a zoning application request to rezone a half-acre plot near Lacon and Cemetery roads on its third reading Monday. The application sought a change in zoning from planned industrial park usage to a community shopping center designation. The item was subsequently removed from the agenda.

Schonhardt also announced the former Texas Roadhouse restaurant site on Cemetery Road may become a new aquatic center. Plans for the development are in the "very preliminary" stages, said Seidle.

Development Director David Meeks also announced a property owned by SALT Realty Co. at the southeast corner of Cemetery Road and Main Street has been sold. A Walgreen's store is planned for the area.