By Katelyn Sattler, Staff Writer
Obetz City Council recently addressed some financial issues.
On March 14, council authorized the city’s director of finance to make payment on a contract with SeeClickFix Incorporated.
Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson said this is a contract payment for an electronic portal that allows citizens to get on their phone, use an app, and then let the city know of any issues.
Council also approved changes to the 2022 appropriations for current city expenditures.
“We’ve been hiring folks and staffing up for the summer season,” said Davisson. “Some of these charges are to cover expenses related to the hiring, particularly the benefit piece of that. Two are related to expanded programming options we’re trying to offer through our parks and rec department, including the home alone classes, which is a safety class for latch key kids.”
City officials want to schedule additional senior trips and are working to reopen the community center and team room.
The city finalized most of the new employees, but is looking for three more.
Zucchinifest and dog park
Mayor Angela Kirk said that for Zucchinifest, which will be held Sept. 2-5, the city signed The Roots & Boots 90’s Electric Throwdown Tour, featuring Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, & Collin Raye. The city is negotiating other contracts and will announce those as soon.
Kirk also said the city will have a grand opening for its dog park around May, once the parking is finished, but realistically, it will probably be late fall. Kirk asked in the meantime that residents not drop their dogs off in the enclosed area which will be the future dog park. City officials said if anyone is dropping their dogs off there as a doggie daycare, the dogs will be taken to the local shelter immediately.
Joe Kimener with CBRE, a development partner for the city, is working on the site behind McDonalds. He’s working with Casto for the right-in traffic study that has been presented to ODOT.
Because of the pandemic, Kimener said the majority of users have been on pause. Now, he’s seeing the activity level where users are making commitments nationwide.
“With the Intel announcement, we now have 50 suppliers that have to be in the market somewhere and I think you have in front of you land positions here in Obetz,” Kimener said. “If you position them accordingly, you can get really good end user companies to come here. I’m working with a confidential company right now. They have 100 engineers. They’re based in Columbus and they have nowhere to go. You should probably take a second look to see how they could fit in with the city planning.”
Davisson said there are two spots to consider. One is on Williams Road and the other is the 12-acre piece of property at Dixon, on the top half of the archery range.
“As you know, Joe is our partner at the development down at the auto action,” said Davisson to council. “He is always looking for other stuff. So I told him to come in, give you the market update, and try to get a flavor of what your level of interest is for these properties.”
Davisson said if council wants Kimener to pursue it, to let him know.
Kimener will also write up a summary of what he thinks the value is and send it to the city.
By Katelyn Sattler
3-D Development requested a variance from the city of Obetz for the property east of Alum Creek Drive and south of Groveport Road, adjacent to Big Walnut Creek.
The property is in a floodplain and is subject to FEMA and local regulations. Building in a floodplain can only be done with a valid floodplain permit.
Obetz updated its floodplain regulations in 2006 to add layers of protection to go beyond the federally mandated regulations. One is the requirement for compensatory storage of fill and the other is the size of the Riparian buffer zone along Big Walnut Creek. Riparian zones are lands that occur along the edges of rivers, streams, lakes, and other water bodies.
If part of the floodplain is filled, there needs to be an area for water to flow so as not to cause flooding downstream.
The area in question was filled years ago and identified by the EPA. The site has been vacant for decades.
Land in the area is valuable for development and the owner must have an engineering study done and submit it to the city, who will need to sign off on it so it can be submitted to FEMA. The federal government can take the property out of the floodplain. If not, the property cannot be developed without flood insurance.
The city did geo-technical studies to determine if the filled area meets the city’s and FEMA’s requirements. Because the study cannot determine the exact nature of the fill, the city engineer cannot say the site meets all requirements to sign off on the study. In addition, the Riparian buffer zone needs to extend 20 feet beyond the floodway and also limits cutting down trees within it.
The city of Obetz supports approval of the variance request to allow the developer to get in to see if something can be done to remediate the filling in of the site and show flooding is not being caused down river, with FEMA’s approval. It will take 8-12 months to hear back from FEMA. The developer ca also decide not to develop the site.
The variance request was passed unanimously by the Obetz Planning and Zoning Commission.
Big Walnut Run
A final development plan and preliminary plat for Big Walnut Run subarea B, a 40 acre plot of land on the west side of Bixby Road shows it will have 66 lots, 75 percent of which will be on a 60-79 foot frontage and 25 percent will be on an 80 foot frontage.
Kevin McCauley, partner with Stavroff Land and Development, attended the March 9 planning and zoning commission meeting to answer questions. Citizens asked questions about their respective properties that are to the north and west of the site and have periodic flooding when it rains.
The meeting broke into small groups with maps to see if the new development may be the cause of the problem. One group formed around McCauley and one group included Linda Menerey, engineer for EMH&T, to discuss the flooding issue the properties were having.
McCauley thinks it’s great that citizens brought their concerns to his attention so they can be reviewed.
“We’ll let our engineers know. If the flooding is being caused by the retention ponds slowing the runoff, that’s an easily solvable issue,” said McCauley.
“They always take care of anything we’ve asked them to do,” said Obetz Mayor Angela Kirk.
The variance request was approved unanimously by the Obetz Planning and Zoning Commission.