CW Council approves development rezoning; plus behavior at city’s swimming pool

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester City Council members prepared for their first meeting in their new chambers in the new municipal building on East Waterloo Street during their June 20 meeting. “It is a privilege to be here,” said Councilman Bob Clark. “I think everyone will find it’s a lot nicer place.”

A rezoning request tabled for multiple meetings was brought back for action following discussions between Canal Winchester City Council and the developer.

Stotan Industrial representative Jim McGill said the company amended its proposal to add more berm height and move a building further away from the road on 80 acres at 5700 and 5900 Winchester Pike currently owned by Harriet Baker Levin.

“We spent a lot of time based on meetings with council,” said McGill during council’s June 20 work session. “We really focused on the building façade…have more glass on both façades.”

McGill said Stotan is proposing to build two new warehouses, is committing $1.54 million in road improvements—widening Bixby Road in front of the development, installing a turn lane along Winchester Pike and improving the Winchester Pike and Gender Road intersection—along with contributing $100,000 to a Bixby Road and U.S. 33 study and donating $400,000 to a community benefit fund.

“We tried to listen here, we made contributions and off-site improvements,” said McGill.
The proposed development on the triangular-shaped parcel would fall under a 15-year, 100 percent tax exemption and potentially generate $12 million in payroll for 300 jobs. The rezoning request is to move from a rural designation in Madison Township to limited manufacturing.

Councilman Bob Clark said, “If we allow this to go to Columbus, they wouldn’t require the contributions we require. The proof is in the pudding.”

The rezoning request was amended to reflect changes by the developer and untabled during the regular council session. It was approved by council with Councilwoman Ashley Ward as the lone dissenting vote.

Behavior at swimming pool
Canal Winchester Public Service Director Matt Peoples updated council on behavior at the city’s swimming pool during the recent string of 90 degree temperatures. He said instances of unruly behavior climbed during the unseasonably hot weather.

“I personally kicked out four people,” said Peoples of time spent at the pool. “Word gets out.”

He said he also suspended a kid for a week for unruly behavior who was a member of the pool and kicked out a 20-something couple who were engaged in a domestic argument that spilled out into the parking lot.

Peoples said he asked a city worker, who is also a middle school physical education teacher and familiar with many of the younger crowd, to have a presence at the pool as well.

Peoples said he fielded calls from residents who complained about seeing unruly behaviors similar to last year, but at the same time reported seeing kids who acted up being escorted out of the pool by city staff.

“Between 4-6:30/7 p.m. is when the problems start,”said Peoples. “Madison Township (police) has been there walking through, which is great.”

Council President Chuck Milliken thanked city staff for spending part of their time helping establish an on-site presence at the pool.

“We were there a lot opening weekend,” Peoples said. “The gate attendants themselves were very helpful.”

Personal fireworks displays
Talk turned briefly to the personal discharging fireworks within the city and Law Director Thaddeus Boggs set the record straight—“It is illegal to discharge fireworks in the city of Canal Winchester. It is a chargeable offense to discharge fireworks.”

Fairfield County Sheriff Department Sgt. Kelly Walker said her office is swamped with calls during the Independence Day holiday with fireworks complaints.

Boggs said video evidence by a citizen of illegal fireworks, without being observed by law enforcement, is admissible in court. However, it must be clear where the fireworks originated, the property, and date on which the incident occurred.

“You have to have the ability to connect it to a property,” said Boggs.

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