By Katelyn Sattler
Will the city of Obetz ever have its own swimming pool?
Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson said there has been talk about a pool for many years.
“With the construction of the Buckstone development, the latest conventional wisdom was that the pool would end up in that development,” said Davisson. “It is slated to be built in Buckstone, which is over by the high school.”
The Younkin developers originally wanted to build a private pool in that development to help sell new houses. Obetz Mayor Angela Kirk negotiated with the developer to redirect the $700,000 they were going to spend on the private pool and give that to the city to help construct a public pool.
“For $700,000 from the Younkin developers, the location kind of got chosen for us,” said Davisson. “The good news is that the Wilburn people were willing to guarantee their NCA (New Community Authority) charge (for the apartments), which allows us to borrow that money right up front, instead of waiting to see what happens. Whether they build those apartments or not, they guaranteed the money. That makes us feel better about borrowing $6 million or $7 million or $8 million to build that stuff. So out of that first borrowing we’ll do the pool and probably some road work and we’re putting out million dollar water lines, sewer stuff, and that will probably be about it until some of the houses are built. Which is one of the reasons we agreed to the apartment construction. We’ve agreed that if we don’t have the public pool construction started by 2025, then the developer will build their private pool, which will eventually be a part of our larger public pool.”
Davisson said it would cost “a couple of million dollars minus the $700,000, but I’m hopeful that we can do that debt issuance in 2024. And then we can be constructing the pool by the 2025 season.”
He said the worst thing that could happen would be, if the economy falters, the developer builds its private pool and it’s private until the city gets attached to it.
“So we’ve designed it in a way where there’s like a little smaller pool and that would be the private one,” said Davisson. “And then we would add the bigger one to it. The goal for the public pool is that it is among the first projects that needs to be accomplished. And so in the first issuance of debt, which means essentially that the city’s going to borrow money, they borrow money against construction.”
Other Obetz news
•Kirk announced the city will rename the park adjacent to the Obetz Community Center on Obetz Avenue in honor of the previous mayor, Greg Scott, who passed away. The park will be named the D. Greg Scott Park to recognize him for his past service to the city.
•Obetz City Councilman Guiles Richardson said AEP has been cutting back the blue spruce trees along Recreation Trail and wanted to cut them down.
“We decided we didn’t want to ruin those trees,” said Richardson. “They’re beautiful blue spruce trees. We’re making plans to replant them. Those trees are worth about $1,000 a piece to replace, which would be about $43,000. Davey Tree Company said they could replant those for about $24,000. So, until September and October when we replant those, we’ll be looking at properties in different places because we don’t want to kill the trees. This will also save the city quite a bit of money.”
•Obetz officials dealt with the formality of the tax budget at city council’s July 11 meeting.
“The tax budget is the budget we do in the middle of the summer and is required by the IRS code, but not enforced by every county,” said Davisson. “Franklin County does enforce this and requires us to submit a budget. It is not the operating budget, which is submitted later in the year. The tax budget is submitted to the county for the purpose of securing your property millage. What we do is put together that budget and send that over to the county auditors. Their goal is to ensure that there’s still a need for property tax allocation. We think there’s still a need for ours. We expect that they will approve that.”
Planning and Zoning
By Katelyn Sattler
A Lisle Avenue property owner The homeowner came before the Obetz Planning and Zoning Commission on July 13 to apply for a variance to be able to keep his graveled driveway.
The existing gravel driveway was allegedly expanded without permits. Now a large portion of the back yard has been graveled and is used for parking vehicles. The neighbors are opposed to granting the variance. The property owner feels it is too dangerous to back out onto Lisle Avenue due to traffic. City of Obetz administration officials are opposed to allowing the backyard to remain graveled.
“The reason for this is backing out on the driveway at seven o’clock in the morning when all the Amazon trucks is impossible, unsafe, also even opening the car door with the neighbor’s fence there is difficult and there’s not enough street lighting at night and it’s hard to see pulling out,” said the property owner. “So, that was the reason for the turnaround.”
Obetz Mayor Angela Kirk said the city solved the Amazon truck problems.
“They don’t drive through here anymore,” said Kirk. “But, there wasn’t a permit and gravel’s not permitted. You have to either blacktop or concrete it.”
Obetz Community Services Director Stacey Boumis said, “I also note that it is most likely too large. So you would ask him to shrink that, to get the minimum size needed or the maximum size you would potentially need to safely turn around.”
“So what you would need to do is give them that information regarding the maximum size of that,” said Kirk. “You will either have to blacktop or concrete it. If not, you’re going have to turn it into a yard.”
Boumis said something could be approved if the property owner is willing to pay the fees for the variance.
The property owner maintained that he needs a turnaround, but city officials reiterated that it can’t be gravel.
“City Engineer Mike Corbitt has some fancy software. He can do a little math. I can talk to him about it,” said Boumis.
“I would be interested in seeing what that turnaround actually needs to be versus what it is,” said the property owner.
“And you’d be willing to work with our engineer to figure out what that size needs to be?” asked Obetz City Councilman Derek Varney.
“More than willing,” said the property owner.
“What about pavement?” asked Kirk.
“It’s cheaper than concrete. It is what it is,” said the property owner.
In deciding a timeline, Boumis said, “We’ve given the property owners up through November to give them adequate time in the summer to get that project coordinated and materials ordered. We can always extend it if need be.”