By Linda Dillman
Previous Canal Winchester City Council meetings focused on the acquisition and rezoning of properties by private owners, but on June 6 it was the city’s turn to be on the buying end of an agreement.
Council held the first reading of a $280,000 ordinance authorizing purchase of 20 S. High St. An evaluation of the property completed in November 2021 appraised the site and building at $265,000, which does not include survey and closing costs.
The seller, Donald Moody, agreed to the city’s terms and environmental investigations are underway on the site. The agreement allows for quarterly payments for five years at five percent interest.
“That property is currently occupied by an eye doctor’s office since the 1970s,” said Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire of the former gas station site. “The current tenant is not interested in a long-term lease. There are abandoned fuel tanks on the property that were filled with sand. The hope is that the site is not contaminated.”
If a Phase II study determines there is contamination, it could impact the selling price, which was originally $300,000. If the city does acquire the property, it could redevelop and reposition the downtown site, which is located next to Stradley Park.
Purchase of the property will move forward at previously agreed upon terms when all due diligence is complete and it is determined that future re-use/redevelopment of the property is feasible.
Canal Winchester Smart Growth organizer Angie Halstead notified council in a June 3 email that the citizens group “will not continue to waste our time participating and voicing our concerns at council meetings. Council has continually ignored the residents with their own agendas in mind.”
“Are we mad?” she wrote. “Yes, we are and we deserve to have those feelings. There are so many examples of how you have boldly ignored the residents.”
Halstead noted a citizen-led referendum garnered more than enough signatures—635—to put the Schacht rezoning on the fall ballot for public consideration, but contended it was “not enough” for the council.
Halstead said concerned citizens attended council meetings to indicate how unhappy they were with the council’s alleged “lack of vision, lack of planning, lack of transparency and abuse of power.”
“No credit is given,” alleged Halstead. “You slap us in the face over and over with your bad faith efforts—you can say all you want it wasn’t your intention to take people’s rights away, but that is exactly what you did. You take no responsibility that you planned this area and created the mess. It also does not escape us that you are doing everything in your power to not lose control—to not lose power. We challenge you to think about what side of history you want to be on in this town—because currently, you are on the wrong side.”
Other CW news
•Council appointed a list of residents to serve on the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for the duration of the planning process until the final document is adopted by the council.
Members of the committee include: Mayor’s Appointment – Brooks Davis, City Council – Laurie Amick; Planning and Zoning Commission – Deborah McDonnell; Landmarks Commission – Rich Dobda; Chamber of Commerce – Denise Mathias; CW Historical Society – Brandon Hord; Old Town Business Association – Marla Baker; Destination Canal Winchester – Karen Stiles; Ashbrook HOA – Marvis McGowan; Canal Cove HOA – Tim Brunney; Charleston Lakes HOA – Eileen Goodin; Villages at Westchester HOA – Rick Deeds; and residents – Ann Bennett, Laura Taylor, Michael Vasko and Richard Brown.
Two representatives for Fairfield County were added before council approved the list—Will Bennett and Kristin Ankrom, along with a CWJRD representative—Matt Krueger.
•An old water line along Trine Street from Oak to Hocking is getting new life after council approved an emergency ordinance to waive competitive bidding for the $110,000 project. By overlapping pavement of the waterline with the city’s annual street project, it could potentially save Canal Winchester $25,000.
“Last year, we had two breaks on it at the same time,” said Public Service Director Matt Peoples. “It is one of our oldest lines.”