Outside Grandview

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Grandview’s JEDZ with Clinton Township

Published October 6, 2014 by justicewg
Franklin County Boundaries

Franklin County Boundaries – click for full size

Grandview Heights made an alliance with Clinton Township last year called a Joint Economic Development Zone. The council has been making various changes to the agreement and setting up accounts for the money as late as June of 2014. Also this summer the Ohio state legislature has voted to eliminate the formation of any new JEDZ between cities and townships.

The simple explanation of the JEDZ is “Grandview uses its taxing authority to levy income taxes on Clinton Twp. businesses, and shares the funds with the Twp.”. Things get a lot more complex in the implementation, but supporters of the tax say this is a way to fund new development in townships that struggle to pay for roads and services, because they don’t have the authority to create income taxes. Critics say this is a “tax grab” that was a misuse of the program, and have passed a bill to end new JEDZs.

Crazy map

How do you mentally map Franklin County? You might imagine the city of Columbus in a big splotch in the center, surrounded by 15 suburbs. Maybe you know about Clinton Twp. because of the signs at the Target on Olentangy Rd. If you have been here for a while you remember the New Rome scandal (a corrupt speed trap, now dissolved).

Click the photo above for a full sized view of the political map of Franklin county. The reality is a confusing maze of boundaries between 16 cities, 9 villages, and 17 townships. Islands within other city boundaries are common, separated by miles. Streets can change jurisdiction mid block, zig-zags run wild.

How Franklin County got so confusing would fill a long and boring book, but the quick story is that Ohio counties were divided into townships during the founding of the state, and city boundaries slowly ate up sections of the townships as they grew. But because small sections of the old townships could vote to keep themselves outside nearby cities, avoiding the taxes while receiving the advantages of new jobs, the map became Byzantine.

Mayor DeGraw on the Clinton Twp JEDZ

I asked mayor DeGraw to explain how Grandview got started on the JEDZ with Clinton Twp.

Clinton township came to us. They chose to talk with Upper Arlington, new Albany and us. They felt these 3 communities could help them with economic development and they liked what was going on in the 3 communities. New Albany was not interested. They did not like the UA proposal or the way they were treated. So they chose us. We were approached a few years ago by Prairie but it did not work out. We were not sure about pursuing it. Really not located in an area of common interest and our tax rate was higher than anyone else at the time. Now more communities at 2 1/2. The common interest in our area development and the development occurring in the area makes sense for us to work with Clinton Twp. Supports 315 corridor plan. . We are the closest community to them on the west side except of course Columbus.

The deal with Clinton Twp. seems like a real moneymaker for the city, I asked if the deal that was passed was normal.

Our proposal of a 20% plus expenses up to 2% made sense to them and is common. We also offered to provide economic development help.

Shortly after the deal passed, there were amendments that changed to boundaries. I asked why?

Amendments are due to a couple of things. First there was the timing on passage. We had to adjust the date because there are only so many days one community has to pass it after the first community passed it. Almost all the other changes were a result of adjusting the properties that are identified as commercial. There was not good data base of commercial properties with no one living in them. It is important not to include any property in the Jezz that has someone living there. So there were a number of adjustments as we went through the property. I think there was also a Couple of technical issues. Can get a breakdown if you wish.

Council also approved legislation to create a joint economic development fund for the deposit of the tax payments the city collects. What specifically will that money be used for?

The fund you ask about will collect the tax money of which 80% will be sent to Clinton Twp after expenses. It is identified what will go to their economic development of that money. Grandview will keep the remaining 20% to do with what council directs. There has been some talk about our share going to an economic development fund. Council can direct. Unless directed differently it will go in the general fund. (note – this question was asked in March, the answer may be different now).

The Dispatch had a story about JEZ in Ohio, called “License to Plunder”. How do you respond?

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/03/16/license-to-plunder.html

Saw the article. Yes a city at one end of the state could work with a township at the other end with no common interest. Obviously not the intent. I think more that a land grab it is a way for townships to try and raise money due to State cuts. They are really limited on funding opportunities and have no taxing authority.

In our case I believe it makes sense to work together.

We are still in the early stages of this JEDZ, I’m not sure if much has been done beyond set up the funding. I don’t see any downside to the deal for Grandview, unless Clinton Twp. would use the money in some illegal way and drag Grandview into a scandal. More on this as results from the JEDZ are announced by the city.

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Reynoldsburg teacher strike, part 2

Published September 28, 2014 by justicewg
Reynoldsburg Superintendent

Reynoldsburg Superintendent

I’ve been reading a lot of press coverage of the Reynoldsburg teacher’s strike with poorly informed comments about the motivations for the work action. Some of this is just misinformation, some are talking points put out by the Reynoldsburg administration and reported uncritically by the press. This recent Dispatch story does a little better job, but it took them a while to get the facts out in the coverage of the strike. This is important stuff, because the Grandview Heights school board has been making plans that are similar to the changes being pushed on the Reynoldsburg teachers.

It’s not about the money

I often read stories and hear news reports that focus on the money that is being offered and the counter-proposal from the union, as though that was the motivation at the base of the strike. A careful reading of the facts show that the two sides are not far apart. The Reynoldsburg teachers would never have gone on strike for a fraction of a percentage point added to their pay.

For the best in-depth review of the financial numbers proposed by each side, as well as possible outcome analysis that exhaustively runs the numbers, read this story on the Plunderbund website (an independent Ohio news blog). No matter the outcome, it’s not about the money.

It is about replacing steps with performance-based pay.

The original demand by the school board would have stripped most of the step pay from the teachers and replaced it with performance-based pay, linked to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. The OTES is a brand new program, still under revision, with no history to show it has any value in measuring what it is supposed to measure. The OTES has nothing in the documentation that even suggests that it can be used for teacher compensation.

Once the academic studies of the OTES are completed, they will almost certainly find the same results that many other teacher evaluation based on student performance-based testing has found. Kids do better if they have parents who are upper income, professionals, and who support their kids in their school work. That one last factor is more important in student test results than any difference in teacher quality.

Obviously students from high income areas will test better than low income kids. This will set up teachers to fail their OTES evaluation, and then if that score is linked to teacher pay, the teachers in low income areas will be stuck with low wages.

Student test performance is so closely related to student home environment that it can cause large shifts in test scores because of the differences between one class and another. So when a teacher gets lucky and has some smart kids with good home support, the teacher’s pay would go up. An unlucky draw of students could throw the teacher into the low compensation level.

Performance-based pay has been tried again and again in school systems. There have been no studies that have shown that it works to improve the results of student achievement. The only reason this failed plan continues to be pushed by school boards is that they follow radical right-wing dogma.

Taking away heath care gives more choice?

The Reynoldsburg school board proposed cash payments for health care instead of health insurance coverage — “initiatives unheard of in teacher contracts around the area” as reported by the Dispatch. The board, in its convoluted reasoning, tried to say this was to give the teachers “more freedom”.

You need to be soaked in the libertarian side of the republican group-think to understand how taking away something gives more freedom. You might think offering teachers the choice of either standard health insurance or cash would be the “freedom” option. Obviously you have not drank enough kool-aid. The freedom they are talking about is the freedom to buy Junk insurance, and the freedom of companies to rip off uninformed consumers.

The current Reynoldsburg board bargaining position doesn’t include the cash for heath care option. Is it possible that they were too embarrassed by their ludicrous explanations of this policy?

Reynoldsburg needs better lies

The Dispatch video interview with superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning is chock filled with whoppers. They don’t know why the teachers went on strike? Gosh, could it have been anything to do with those unprecedented demands on the teachers? And then when she is asked if there are outside political forces driving her and the board, she says, “First, I’m insulted”. Red flag! Anytime someone starts to answer a questions with the declaration that they are insulted to have to answer the question, you can bet a whole lot of BS will follow.

Everyone knows this was a pilot program pushed by the republican John Kasich administration. The strike was a push-back supported by teachers all over the state. For Thomas-Manning to insist that it isn’t shows an ass-covering move at a skill level that wouldn’t fool a two year old.

I’m guessing Tina Thomas-Manning will have a short career with the Reynoldsburg schools. After the present board members are voted out, she will be booted too. She will always have a position somewhere with Governor John Kasich’s administration. Watch this video that documents the close ties between the Governor and Tina Thomas-Manning, and also the school board members at Reynoldsburg.

Reynoldsburg School Board’s dirty tricks

Fake flyers that out the strike breaking teachers are the latest from the Reynoldsburg school. They were created in an attempt to make it look like the union (or a supporter) was passing out flyers that identified the homes of the strike breaking teachers. As the excellent  Plunderbund website shows, the flyers are almost identical to ones that outed teachers during the Strongsville strike. Huffmaster, the security and strike managment company, was the only link between the two cities. The only people that had those addresses were Huffmaster and the board. What a low trick – Huffmaster hires some desperate person (not necessarily a teacher, anyone with a college degree will do) and now it looks like in an attempt to smear the union, they out their own employee to the neighborhood.

Strike over

October 9, 2014, the Reynoldsburg teachers voted to accept a new contract and end the strike. They will continue to receive step pay, health care plans from the school, and some limits on class sizes were set. This was a full loss for the school board and superintendent, hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on strike breakers and added security.  I hope the parents and community members vote these losers out as soon as possible.

The final bill the Reynoldsburg board cost the community by engaging in this dumb fight is still being totaled up, but it will be more than a million dollars, possibly two. If I were a community member there I would be passing a petition to have all the board members removed by recall elections.

Up soon – I asked the Grandview Heights board why they were talking about “Strategic compensation” in the February meeting held in a cabin 20 miles outside the city, with no parents or press attending. The answers they gave will not make you feel the Grandview board is very different from the Reynoldsburg board.

(Follow up story about the Reynolsburg board)

Reynoldsburg Board of Education President Andrew Swope resigned in December, and said he was moving his family out of the area. Superintendent Manning is still at the school, but this Facebook page asking for her removal shows the mood of the community.

(Later) The Reynoldsburg board voted to end super Manning’s contract in Sept. 2016, she will leave the school in July 2017.

(Reynoldsburg strike part one)

Reynoldsburg school board sabotaging the district

Published September 9, 2014 by justicewg
The real Raiders in Reynoldsburg are the school board members

The real Raiders in Reynoldsburg are the school board members

The negotiations between teacher’s unions and school boards are often tense. Full out warfare, like the Reynoldsburg school is going through, is the exception. You don’t often get to see the talking points that are part of the negotiations displayed so publicly as the board has done on its website. It is obvious from the changes the school board is pushing on the teachers that this is a group with a radical ideological agenda that is sabotaging the school district.

The Reynoldsburg school board has placed a FAQ on the school website, giving the board’s side of the negotiations. This is highly unusual move. Normally both sides might give brief comments to the newspapers when there are sticking points, but it is considered bad faith to the negotiation process to go full public with the details of the plans for negotiations. The school board and the teachers representatives are hired to do the work of reaching an agreement, by posting a long online listing of talking points, the board is trying to draw all of the community into a fight that they were supposed to resolve by themselves.

(Edit Sept 13, SERB forwarded an unfair-labor-practice complaint by the teachers union for review by a judge. See more below.)

The bad ideas that the Reynoldsburg board members are pushing are part of a general agenda from the political right-wing to deprive teachers of security and pay. Nothing new there, it has been the agenda of the Republican party for the last 30 years to cut worker’s pay and squash unions. The FAQ makes it clear where the problem in the talks are coming from, the changes the board is asking from the teachers are radical and ideological.

They are also a warning to the parents of Grandview Heights about how a board with a right-wing agenda – as the current Grandview board has shown itself to be – can bring about chaos in the school.

“Performance evaluation” becomes everything

The Reynoldsburg board wants to remove step pay from some teachers, the formula that increases pay as a teacher accrues seniority. This has long been the way teachers are rewarded in Ohio, minimum steps are part of state law (for the first 11 years). This keeps wages above inflation, and rewards experience. “Performance evaluation” is how the Reynoldsburg board wants to go, which leaves teachers in the hands of school principals for any raises. If a teacher has a conflict with an administrator, over issues which have nothing to do with the quality of education, the administrator has the tool in hand to take money away from the teacher. That’s not a great difference in how administrators have always been able to control teachers, but in the past the union was on the side of the teacher. This moves the power into the hands of administrators, teachers can do little to protest unfair treatment.

The present Grandview school board seems to have the same ideological beliefs as the Reynolsburg board. Reading the Special Meeting February 9, 2014 meeting notes – that was the meeting that was held in a cabin 20 miles outside the city, attended by no parents or press – the board was discussing “developing a process for strategic compensation”.

Recent agreements between the Grandview Heights board and the teacher’s union have allowed the base salary to be held back as an acknowledgment by the teachers of a poor economy. That shows the union is working with the board. It doesn’t mean they want step pay taken away permanently. It would be a horrible break of faith if the board was to make the voluntary sacrifice of the teachers into a reason to take step pay away.

Taking away the Reynoldsburg teacher’s health plan

The most radical action taken by the Reynoldsburg board is to take the health care plan completely away from the teachers and replace it with a cash payment, to be used by the teacher to buy their own health care insurance.

The board webpage gives a rationalization that this is a “fairness” issue. If a teacher has a spouse with a job that offers a poor insurance plan, they now can be added to the teacher’s plan (with all the same deductable payments). The board says this isn’t fair to the taxpayers, because some teachers don’t have spouses.

Some teachers even have children! Funny that the board didn’t add kids to the additional burden list that the board has to pay for. If they did, their argument would immediately be seen as the ridiculous libertarian style reduction of all social contracts to monetary transactions. Using the board’s logic, it is also not “fair” for parents to ask taxpayers to pay for educations for their children – but that has been the social contract we have lived with in this country since its founding. It is the bedrock foundation of the school and the board itself!

The board argues that the new healthcare laws allows spouses to buy their own health care plan, so it isn’t up to the school to pay for spouses any more. It is true that the ACA means insurance is more available. That doesn’t take away the expectation that spouses and children will be covered by the healthcare plan at the school, if the teacher wants coverage.

Remember, heathcare plans have always been negotiated by teachers with school boards, with variable levels of coverage. Teachers often have given up higher pay, because they wanted the security of a good healthcare plan that they knew would cover their family. By taking away healthcare, the board is slapping the teachers in the face, breaking the deals that were negotiated in the past.

This heathcare theft by the school board is also driven by a big political motive. The right-wing hates Obamacare, and have been using every lever they can pull to try to make healthcare more difficult for employees. By using the transparently false argument of “more choice” to take insurance plans away from the teachers, they fulfill the predictions of the right that the ACA would cause people to be thrown off healthcare plans. “Look at the failure of Obamacare!” is the cry of the right-wing, while doing everything in their power to push people off insurance.

(By the way, the number of people on healthcare plans has been going up, the costs for heathcare have been going down.)

‘Junk Insurance’ motivating the board members

Offering cash instead of a healthcare insurance plan might sound like a neutral policy – if the teachers use to money to buy coverage that was similar to what they had in the past, why is it bad?

Read this story about ‘Junk Insurance’, low benefit plans that don’t meet the requirements of the ACA.

By switching to cash payouts for insurance, the teachers now have the ability to buy these junk policies. They don’t provide much coverage, but they sell themselves as being cheaper than ACA compliant plans, even with the penalties that must be paid. For someone who is young, healthy, and has been brainwashed into thinking this is “freedom from Obamacare”, they might save some money – until they have a major heath problem, which will leave them in financial ruin.

When you read about “freedom” in stories about the ACA, the ability to make bad choices is the freedom that is most often being being sold. It is also about the freedom of insurance companies to rip off uninformed consumers.

The Reynoldsburg school board didn’t have to take the radical steps they have taken. This is what happens when you elect ideologues instead of people who just want a good education for the kids. The Grandview Heights board under Grant Douglass has veered into the same territory as the Reynoldsburg board. We should be watching what happens next, because that could be the future of Grandview.

More on release of negotiation details on the web

The rules for the talks that the State Employment Relations Board enforce say that negotiating in public, as the board has done, violates the Ohio Revised Code. It is corrosive to the process to draw the public into a fight that is supposed to be between the people sitting at the table. Instead of working between the participants, it becomes a battle of press releases, web postings, and protesters holding signs. All of those are expected when the talks break down and a real strike is in progress, but they shouldn’t happen before the work action. SERB has ruled that the Reynoldsburg board might be in violation, a judge will decide the case.

On one hand, I don’t have any complaint with the board opening up and sharing negotiation points. I’d like to see the counter-points posted by the teacher’s union. I think openness is a good thing in almost all cases (except personal information that privacy laws protects). But I understand how the rules for public-sector collective bargaining have been created, and why this sort of open fighting is bad process.

The best way the public could have been informed about the changes in policy that the school board members are attempting to force on the teachers would have been for them to announce their support for these issues during their campaign for office. Then the voters could have decided if they wanted to start a fight with the teacher’s union. I don’t know enough about the Reynoldsburg school board elections to say if this was done or not. I would guess that it was not done, most elected officials run on a generic “great schools, keep costs down” platform. When you have board members who refuse to answer questions from the public like the Grandview board candidates have done (and I don’t count the highly scripted candidate nights as adequately answering the public), how can we know what actions the board might take?

(Follow up story about the Reynolsburg board)

Reynoldsburg Board of Education President Andrew Swope resigned in December, and said he was moving his family out of the area. Superintendent Manning is still at the school, but this Facebook page asking for her removal shows the mood of the community.

More on Reynoldsburg strike

Escape from Grandview’s skull island*

Published November 21, 2013 by justicewg

*Not really an escape story, more of an exploration. Not Grandview’s island, this small isolated piece of Columbus is a peninsula at best. No skulls were found, but no other name has been proposed for this part of town.

My buddy Eddie Urbex recently posted this story on his private blog, with his permission I’m re-posting it here.

Escape from Grandview’s skull island

I’ve been keeping my eyes on a prime new area for exploration. I spent months of watching for patterns in the workers day jobs and the patrols by the cops. I figured out the best time to start my next adventure. It worked pretty well, no one caught me.

first bridge

This is the approach to the new bike bridge on the Scioto trail. Traffic coming off 670 west on the Grandview exit will have a full view of you on the way up and crossing the bridge. I did some crouching and made it up and over OK.

view first bridge

Really big bridge. I think it is this size so that emergency vehicles can drive over it.

river_from_bridge

The riverside is so choked with trees and bushes that there is no good way down to the water. This is what stopped me in previous attempts to paddle a boat over to explore. Might be another opening around the bend but I just saw lots of trees.

skyline

View of island with downtown is background. It has a mixture of stony areas, some grass, scrub brush and trees. Not a full on bushwhack but not easy to explore.

view bridgetop

Looks like they scraped back the area near the path and seeded it. I bet those poles will hold up a high fence. No big problem for urbexers but I hate to get hung up on them.

second bridge

The second bridge crosses the scioto near the city water plant. As bike bridges go it is long.

water plant dam

The view from the bridge, above the water plant dam. I’m betting the fences will be high around this area to keep the swimmers away. Every year somebody gets sucked into the washing machine at the base of these low head dams and dies.

Plenty of land up for exploration on this island. Dead men’s chests (and other body parts) are waiting for you if you have the skills.

DO NOT BREAK THE LAW like my buddy Eddie. The bike bridge will be open to the public sometime in December, according to the Columbus Recreation and Parks, Greenways office. There are places to fall and get hurt on the path now – you can wait a few weeks.

(later) It is open! Just in time for the snow to hit.

The new bike path is great, and it will be better if the planned extension along the Scioto up to Griggs Dam is completed (no word on that project). There is a fundamental problem for the residents of Grandview Heights using this bike path though, getting onto the trail is not easy. Geographic constraints mean you are limited to using Grandview Ave. to cross SR33 and there is no bike path on the east side of that street through a high traffic area. I wouldn’t want my kids to use that route when they were young. Even if you can avoid the steep Grandview hill by taking a bypass (like the road down to the pool), you still have to go though the section from Goodale to Watermark. Not fun.

Restaurants under construction in Grandview Yard periphery

Published June 7, 2013 by justicewg
Bye Bye Bank

The last “Great Idea” was “lets tear the place down”

First, a little review of the history of Grandview Yard and cooperation with Columbus.

When the plan for Grandview Yard was announced back in 2007 , there was a big sticking point. Access to the Yard is funneled by the rail bridges at Goodale and another at Third Ave., and the exit ramp off SR315 is not built for high traffic. All of the needed high cost road upgrades are inside the city of Columbus. All of the original plans for the Yard sited the buildings (and the taxes they generate) inside Grandview.

For two years Mayor Coleman balked at signing any agreement that had so much costs for his city, with so little upside. There was talk about the Yard helping the general area of Columbus on the periphery of the Yard, but with no real guarantees this would happen. The experience of the Arena District taught that new development can explode in one place, while leaving areas outside (the rest of the downtown) to wither.

In 2010, Columbus signed a deal to help with the construction of the Yard, after some incentives were offered. A big chunk of land that was inside the city of Columbus on the north side of Third Ave. was added to the plans (this is where the Giant Eagle is supposed to be built), and Nationwide promised to move 1,400 jobs to Columbus from Dublin. After the TIF agreement was signed, it was supposed to be full speed ahead for the Yard.

Where are the buildings?

The build up of Grandview Yard has been much slower than we were lead to believe. The great recession had much to do with that, but now that corporate profits are back up, we were supposed to see the buildings in the Yard jump up with great speed. Phase 1 had a hotel, an office and a fitness center. Then things stalled. The HealthSouth facility will employ more than 120 people, but the thousands of jobs that were promised have not arrived.

Instead we have an odd situation like the Giant Eagle, announced with much fanfare, utilities and parking lots built, then … nothing. We read stories about construction to begin soon, but no firm commitment.

Columbus takes the lead

Instead, the action is at the outskirts of the Yard, in Columbus, outside the land owned by NRI. Two large apartment buildings were built, at Third Ave. by the tracks, and on the Goodale connector past SR315.

Two new restaurants are planned for that section of Olentangy by Third that had an old bank and the former Lyons video production building. Millers Ale House, a casual-dining, sports-theme restaurant (a Florida based company with 64 locations) was announced early in May, and now Sbarro has said they will build a fast-casual food operation called “Pizza Cucinova” next door.

The general area of Olentangy seems to be successful for many businesses, the Fish Market always has a full parking lot, Cap City has a long and successful run here. If anything is questionable about this location, over-saturation of restaurants is an issue. Yes, the Yard may in the future provide a new locus of customers, but will the area support this many restaurants until the Yard has been filled?

Will these outlying food operations suck the life out of the yard before it has even been fully born?

I think Mayor Coleman is a pretty smart guy. I noticed that in that TIF agreement, parts of Olentangy near third were included. Which probably explains why the bank on the corner is now torn down, and two new restaurants are on the way up.

Doomsday Preppie arrested

Published February 22, 2013 by justicewg

Photo from lasard's Flicker streamTwo cultural standards collided in Worthington last week, and resulted in the arrest and eventual commitment of a man to a state mental-health facility.

http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/worthington/news/2012/02/14/police-swat-nab-doomsday-preppie.html

“Worthington Police Lt. Mike Dougherty said Velie is a “doomsday preppie,” which is someone who stockpiles weapons, food, batteries and other necessities. They are stocking up for the ‘big one,’”

“This guy had enough J. Press and Brooks Brothers clothing stored up to outfit a small army. He was found to be hording Argyle sweaters, chinos, madras, Nantucket Reds, button down Oxford cloth shirts, and boat shoes. I guess he though he would come out of his bunker after the apocalypse and start his own preppie school. We can’t have that sort of thing going on in our community, even after the big one. It would be better for humanity to die out. “

Police determined that the collision of the preppie culture and the Prepper survivalist memes had driven the man into mental shock, requiring his involuntary commitment. “He kept saying “Buffy and Biff need to be ready WTSHTF, OMG, LOL.” We didn’t understand him, so we sent him for treatment.”

Whatever happened to Grandview Station? – (G.W.)

Published February 4, 2013 by justicewg

Another repost from the old blog. The Kaplin tract was on the minds of the city council during the recent retreat , is it possible the property will be developed faster than the 2021 date that was projected?

(From Febuary 2008)

Back in early 2006 the big buzz was the proposal by the Bear Creek Capital developers to build a large shopping center at the corner of 33 and Grandview Ave. The project, called “Grandview Station”, was at first proposed to contain two “big box” retailers, with Home Depot and Wal-Mart mentioned as possible tenants. From the initial application:

The conditional uses proposed by the applicant are incorporated into a development plan for a large shopping center. The development plan includes two large retailing operations of approximately 200,000 +sq. ft. and 102,000 sq. ft., five (5) restaurant out parcels containing a combined building size of nearly 23,000 sq. ft. and a mixed use office/retail building of 49,000 sq. ft.

Opposition by Grandview residents was swift. Speakers at city council meetings said they didn’t think the massive stores fit into the Grandview tradition, would be good employers, or would be a good long term use of the land.

In March of 2006, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s dual-jurisdictional vision for a revitalized Grandview Avenue-Dublin Road was presented. Residents received copies of the study during the first meeting of the Dublin Pike Planning Area, an ad hoc committee of the city council. This plan called for a higher intensity, urban mixed use of the area, including office, retail, and residential. While the plan was viewed as a better use of the land, it was only a suggestion. Later the more formal Dublin Pike Resolution clarified the zoning intent for the area (which is for smaller development, not big box stores). This required the Bear Creek people to make substantial revisions.

A March 2006 recommendation by the city to the planning commission killed the first plan with the big box stores.

After the rejection of the first plan by the Grandview planning commission (the application was rejected because it was incomplete, but the above recomentation would have killed it anyway), Bear Creek was supposed to come back with a new plan. Here is a post I make in April of 2006, listing the players and current events.

As of this date (Feb 2008), although the website remains, (well, it did back when this post was put up, it is a 404 now) Bear Creek has not renewed its option on the land. The last mention of the project in the council meeting notes is in Nov. 2006, when some planning meetings were still under way. I asked Director of Administration Patrik Bowman if there had been any more word on the project:

The project is currently dead. Bear Creek has not renewed its option. The restaurant did change hands but I have not talked with the new owner. I’m afraid that given the cost of the restaurant and motel there may be pressure for surface user–gas stations/drive-thrus.

So which do you prefer, Grandview – watching a boarded up motel slowly rot away, or shall we allow a developer to build a gas station or drive-thru? My suggestion would be to tear it all down and build a park – with all that non-existent money that the city will never have.

Despite the loss of new development in Grandview, the council did a good job holding off a deep pockets proposal that simply was wrong for the city. Maybe NRI should be studying the history of this proposed development before they try to lean on the city council.

(Feb. 2008)