A drawn-out battle over land in Violet Township owned by Robert and Wilma Snider finally came to an end on Dec. 1 as Canal Winchester Village Council accepted an annexation application for the 227 acre parcel.
The process began seven years ago when the couple filed a petition with Fairfield County Commissioners for annexation into the village and a hearing was held six months later on June 11, 2002. Canal Winchester Law Director Gene Hollins represented the Sniders in their original application.
Court cases ensued as neighboring municipalities wrangled over the property, but the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas finally terminated all previously granted stays and, in November, the Fifth District Court of Appeals entered a final order affirming the Common Pleas Court’s decision upholding the annexation.
On Dec. 1, council unanimously passed an ordinance accepting the annexation application under emergency language suspending second and third readings. The tract is located east of Hill Road and north of Basil-Western Road and borders land owned by Lucille Thornton.
"I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Snider for sticking with us through thick and thin," remarked Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon. "Because of them, that area will start to develop, which will be beneficial."
Hollins called the legislation "historic" and said, "Thanks to the Sniders, and thanks to the council, we’ll be turning corners and reaching out. It will facilitate further discussions with Pickerington and Violet Township and landowners in the area."
Lifelong village resident and business owner Dave Stemen asked council to consider changes to parking regulations in the downtown area. He said his High Street office, unlike surrounding businesses, does not have a rear entrance and he would like to have on street access to parking-longer than two hours-near his company, Encore Marketing.
"I have had a lot of parking ordeals," said Stemen. "We’re looking for space every day, so it’s a little bit of a trick. I’ve had a lot of problems in the past."
According to Stemen, within the past 15 years, police have asked him three times to move vehicles and an employee expressed concern regarding personal safety and parking in a nearby public lot. He said his own car was hit in the same lot last month.
"It’s been really challenging," said Stemen. "Retail businesses are important, but businesses like ours are important to the community."
Mershon told Stemen the idea behind on street parking is to provide space for customers patronizing downtown businesses and said there are plenty of off street spots available in public parking areas behind Stradley Place and Shade on the Canal restaurant. Stemen previously said his office does not generate walk-in traffic.
Mobile Community Watch Program
A mobile community watch program recently kicked off in Canal Winchester after the first group of village residents graduated from training class with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office. The purpose of the program, made possible through local volunteers, is to deter crime as well as raise awareness and residential safety in the community.
Each citizen volunteer undergoes a background check as well as 40 hours of training consisting of classroom and on-the-street instruction before graduating from the program. Each volunteer is supervised by a law enforcement liaison officer who monitors the performance of patrols under his or her jurisdiction.
A community watch vehicle will enable volunteers to patrol their own neighborhoods, report on suspicious activity, conduct routine house checks, and provide traffic direction in a marked car. Community Affairs Director Carrie Hoover reported volunteers have already donated hundreds of hours for preventative patrols and special events.
"I’m happy to report, this Thursday (Dec. 4) we’ll receive the Canal Winchester vehicle," said Mayor Michael Ebert. "I think it’s coming at a good time, a very opportune time for the village of Canal Winchester. Our community watch program is an effective way to increase the safety of our neighborhoods at no cost to the village. We appreciate the dedication of the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office to this program as well as the commitment of our resident volunteers."