By Andrea Cordle
Westside resident Sharon Rastatter felt like something was missing in her community – representation. Therefore, she reached out to Columbus City Council to create another area commission on the westside.
“We took this path to have a voice in our community,” said Rastatter.
Earlier this month, city council voted in favor of forming the city’s 20th area commission – the Far West Area Commission.
“There are numerous projects upcoming in that area, so it made sense to create another area commission,” said Michael Stinziano council president pro tem.
This makes the third area commission on the westside of Columbus. The other two are the Greater Hilltop Area Commission and the Westland Area Commission.
The Far West Area Commission will serve the Columbus corporation limits from Alton Darby Creek Road to Interstate 270; Interstate 270 north of Norfolk Southern Railroad until Interstate 70 then continuing north along the eastern track of Buckeye Rail Yard until Scioto Darby Road; and Hamilton Run north of Norfolk Southern Railroad to Roberts Road then continuing to where Old Roberts Road would intersect with Alton Darby Creek Road.
Rastatter has lived in the area since 1994. In recent years, she has noticed more commercial and residential development.
“We have a lot coming down the pipeline,” said Rastatter.
One of those big projects coming down the road is the rezoning of more than 350 acres along Alton Darby and Renner roads. The proposal is to rezone what is known as the Sugar Farm to allow for single family homes, attached homes and apartments.
“This is why we need representation from our area,” said Rastatter. “We want to give input on these types of projects.”
According to the bylaws, the commission shall consist of nine commissioners. Six will serve as at-large seats and must live within the commission boundaries and three may be selected who live or work within the commission area including Prairie and Norwich townships or a representative from the area school districts which include South-Western City Schools, Columbus City Schools and Hilliard City Schools. The commission must maintain a minimum of two thirds majority of commissioners who are residents of the city of Columbus.
Since the commission is just forming, Rastatter said things will be a bit different for a while. Members of a task force that helped create the commission will serve as commissioners for an interim period. Elections will be held in August for three-years terms.
Rastatter encourages citizens to attend the monthly commission meetings and think about serving.
“There are 43,000 residents in this area, and we need more people involved,” she said.
The Far West Area Commission will meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Hilliard Horizon Elementary School, 6000 Renner Road in Columbus. The next meeting will take place Feb. 26 and the Sugar Farm rezoning proposal is on the agenda.
For additional information on the city’s newest area commission, visit farwestsidecbus.org.