Obetz City Council and Planning and Zoning news

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By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

Obetz City Council approved the creation of the new community authority for Buckstone.

Buckstone is a mixed use development that will occupy about 800 acres at the corner of Lockbourne and Rathmell roads.

“The new community authority is a separate board that operates independently of the city,” said Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson. “It’s comprised of members from both the city and from the participating developers. It is the entity that receives the tax distribution.”

The new community authority also receives the 5 mill new community authority charge in addition to the tax money for the Buckstone area, and has been named the “Buckstone Community Authority.”

“With regard to the improvements, they can either contract with the city to make those improvements themselves or pay for the improvements,” said Davisson. “The new community authority is a separate and distinct entity. Although, to be fair, it is controlled by the city in the sense that your representatives are the most numerous on the board.”

Of the nine board members appointed by council, four are citizen members, one represents local government, and one is a developer (since Obetz is also a developer of the former Warner farm in Buckstone). So council appoints six out of nine board members. Each board member council appoints will serve two-year overlapping terms with two of each of the initial citizen and developer members appointed to serve initial one-year terms.

Mowing expenses
Obetz is looking to reduce expenses by contracting out mowing.

“Our lawn care expenses are running at $1.1 million,” said Davisson. “Some of our folks took the buyouts that worked on the lawn care crew. We were able to continue to get through because we have interns who work in that department, where we keep mowing, then reshuffle some of our other guys to help out. All of that’s coming to an end.”

Davisson couldn’t get many companies interested in a big contract this late in the season, but found Davey Tree was interested.

Davisson said, “They do the tree trimming and the neighborhoods and we were kind of like, ‘you’ve been doing a good job for us’. They were interested in taking on this contract for us for this year. But because they have to hire people and buy equipment, they would really like an 18 month contract. So essentially you finish out this year and do one more year.”

The total cost would be $550,000 per season with Davey instead of the $1.1 million per season the city spends on lawn care.

Davey wanted a three year contract, but Davisson said, “My plan would be to let them finish this year and do next year, presuming everything goes well, bid it next summer for the 2024 mowing season.”

Davisson said Davey wanted to buy the city’s equipment, but the city will keep their mowers.

“We have about $20,000 in Scag mowers that we’ve already bought and paid for,” said Davisson. “If we use those every time (for finish mowing of rights-of-way and ditches), we won’t have to really buy anymore for a while.”

Davisson also said Jess Griffith, now assistant safety director, and Lionel Dean, now in the facilities department, will still do all of the spray and treatment, which will “save the city about $2,000.”

Davisson estimates it will take about 65 days for the bidding process, which is why he asked council to approve a no-bid contract for Davey Tree this season.

“Sixty five days without mowing grass is a problem,” he said. “But the city will save about $600,000” off the $1.1 million the city spends on mowing.

Other news
•Obetz Police Chief Mike Confer said that there was not a shooting in Butler Farms, even though television news and Facebook said there was.

Mayor Angie Kirk added, “Several weeks ago, the Citizen app said there was a house on fire, which happens to be my brother-in-law’s house. I called him and we drove by and it was not on fire.”

•Anyone 18 years of age and older who want to join the 2022 Obetz Zucchinifest Volunteer Team, email your full name and phone number to Kerri Duffy at kduffy@obetz.oh.us for a list of available volunteer positions and shifts.

Obetz Planning and Zoning

By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

A request for a zoning variance for the property at 4251 Holstein came before the Obetz Planning and Zoning Commission on Aug. 10.

The application is for a variance to construct a small shed on the corner of the property. The property owner told the city that because of the way the property is graded, that was the only spot available to put a shed. The shed would be two feet from the property line on each side. The zoning code requires five feet from each side. The shed would also be in an easement. The homeowners association is agreeable to this location. There have been no objections from neighbors.

The city would need access to the utility easement, so the shed would need to be moveable.

Council Clerk Stacey Boumis said, “I think a lot of these smaller sheds can be moved on skids.”

The property owner is agreeable to that.

Mayor Angela Kirk said, “As long as it can remain moveable so that we can have access to the utilities, I’m agreeable to that.”

The motion passed 5-0.

Other P&Z news
•The owner of the property at 4125 Groveport Road is asking for a variance to allow a five foot high mesh fence. A mesh fence by itself is not permitted in the zoning code. Chain link is permitted up to four feet, however, mesh fence has only been permitted as a filler for typically another type of fence. For example, in the Butler Farms subdivision, if they have mesh, it is to be as part of a split rail fence, like the three-rail.

For this parcel, the fencing is visible from Dill Street.

Boumis thinks the fence should be more decorative than the one the owner showed the city, like what is permitted in Butler Farms.

The owner indicated that a more decorative one is no problem. He also wants to put some landscaping on the inside and outside of the fence.

“I think there needs to be a top rung and a bottom rung on that fence to make that look more like a fence than stockade fencing. How quickly are you going to take to do this?” asked Kirk

The owner said he can comply with the type of decorative mesh fencing that was shown during the meeting.

The commission approved the variance to the zoning code, with the conditions being that the city has access to that utility easements as well, and that the same or similar type fencing be constructed in comparison to something like in Butler Farms.

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