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COTA asks GHAC for space on West Broad
Construction work near where the Central Ohio Transit Authority parks some of its buses has sent the transportation company seeking a new location.
COTA took a step toward getting permission to use the former Trader Bud's lot at 3700 W. Broad St. on a temporary basis when it appeared before the Greater Hilltop Area Commission at its May 5 meeting.
Harvey Schwager, architectural department manager for DLZ, asked for conditional use of the space to park the Mainstream buses and as many as 30 regular buses on the site.
Schwager said construction work is to begin next month on Fields Avenue near where the buses are parked and will last about 18 months. He asked for permission to use the Westside lot through 2010 or longer if necessary.
He said COTA would park as many as 51 Mainstream buses, those that transport people with disabilities, at the lot and operate that service from there. Mainstream buses are dispatched when people with disabilities who live off the main bus routes summon them.
Plans also call for an above ground fuel tank to be installed.
The main question posed by the commission concerned the fuel tank, and Schwager said the tank has not yet been installed, but said it would comply with all safety regulations.
Only nine of the 14 members on the commission were present and all gave their approval to the request and vice chair David Horn, acting as chair in the absence of Chuck Patterson, said he would forward the issue to the city within 48 hours.
The issue will go before the Columbus City Council, which will refer it to a committee then bring it back for a vote before the full council.
Horn announced that information packets have been distributed throughout the area for the Hilltop commission election that will be held at the Bean Dinner on June 27 in Westgate Park.
Six seats are open -- seats held by Joe Decker, Justin Boggs and Karen Whitman who were elected to the commission three years ago; Stanley Thornburgh who was appointed to fill out a term, Tasha Corson who was appointed to a three-year seat, and one vacant seat that has a year left on that term.
Those packets are available at the Greater Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 511 S. Hague Ave., and on the commission's Web site at www.TheGHAC.com.
People who live, work or own property in the Greater Hilltop area are eligible to run for those seats and to vote in the election. The area is founded on the north by Interstate 70, on the west by Interstate 270, on the south by U.S. Route 62 and on the east by Mound Street.
"This is the largest area commission, geographically," Horn said. "We have 70,000 residents in this area."
He said interest is high in the area "and we always have contested elections."
As many as 300 people vote in the election.
Nominating petitions are contained in the information packet and people seeking a seat on the commission need 25 signatures.
Steering committee debate
Commissioners discussed the possibility of setting goals and objectives for work they would like to work on in the coming year which begins in July.
Thornburgh suggested creating a steering committee, which would include members of the community and would draw up a list of projects and programs. But that didn't sit too well with member Steve Hermiller.
He said, "I'm not sure I approve of a new committee," he said.
Jeff Phillips, a Hilltop resident in the audience said the the commission is not being pro-active.
"You deal with what the city gives you," Phillips said. "Why aren't you going to the city with issues? You're reactive, not pro-active."
Some of the concerns Thornburgh, who serves as community relations chairman, posed included how to deal with the disposal of yard waste; how to get block watch groups to work together; what to do with the West Broad Corridor where numerous businesses have closed; and even how to get more people visit the Web site.
The consensus of the discussion was that each member would bring his or her top 10 projects to the table at the next meeting, June 2 at 7 p.m. at the library on South Hague, and the discussion will continue at that time.
The public is also invited to submit their suggestions.
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