Regional Planning Commission members heard a presentation by Development Director Pat Davies at the July 23, 2014 meeting.
Davies explained that Morrow County is a member of Columbus 2020 whose focus is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth. She reviewed the projects that were suggested for Morrow County a few years ago.
The first item discussed was the I-71 expansion which is now near completion. The addition of a left turn lane at the SR61/I-71 Interchange has also been completed.
One issue that has been partially addressed is the SR 95/CSX crossing in Edison. The height of the crossing is a problem for certain trucks. It was addressed to a degree but is still a concern therefore that item is being left on the list as a possible project.
Other items that were considered were:
SR95 - Mt. Gilead Commercial District Study to alleviate congestion.
SR95/314 - Four way stop in through Chesterville, expand right and left turn lanes. The outcome of the study by ODOT District 5 was that they agreed to straighten some curves but as they looked at Chesterville there is no right of way to expand. A bypass would be expensive so this project is sitting on hold.
Comprehensive Thoroughfare Plan: Currently Morrow County does not have one. The purpose would be to study and educate citizens on the plan for the SR95/SR61 interchange access areas and near prime development areas.
Scenic Byways Plan: Add bicycle lanes to major roadways through Morrow County. We do not have Rails to Trails program. It was tried years ago with public outcry. There were no public entities except Mount Gilead that bought their trails. Other counties bought the railway areas which were converted to bike trails. You can ride in every county by trail except Morrow County. This was a special fund by the State which was designed to convert old railways to bike trails.
Davies asked the group for suggestions on possible future projects. She noted that in order to be considered for funding, the item has to be on the list. Some of the ideas discussed were: Turning lanes at SR229/SR61, Washington Twp Sewer issue in Iberia and a SR314 Chesterville to Johnsville Amish Buggy lane.
John Yust sent a letter of resignation as the Fire and Safety Representative to the Regional Planning Commission. His letter was read by Chairman Lynn Shinaberry. Yust expressed sincere regrets but stated he found it “necessary to separate himself from most of the activities and involvement within our community” “The reason for this decision has nothing to do or is associated with anyone involved within the commission itself however I do find myself in somewhat of a personal conflict working under the direction of individuals that have maintained and demonstrated little consideration to the peoples that have placed them in office. He also cited personal issues that would limit his time.
His resignation creates the need for the nomination committee to again nominate people to fill the vacancy for Fire & safety rep as well as the committees that Yust served on, executive committee, variance review, subdivision regulations committee, subdivision review committee.
Bill Creswell, Washington Township, gave the commission an update on the Railroad Crossing PUCO hearing. He said they turned in their issues on record but no questions were answered. “The railroad was represented by their lawyer who did not speak,” said Creswell. There will be another hearing on this issue at a later date. “He (CSX attorney) will have however many weeks or months to respond to the comments and information we gave and he will have the last word at the PUCO which didn’t seem quite right to me,” he continued “I would have thought that everybody would have had to say their thing that day. Why would he get time to prepare a response against every one of our arguments? It sounds like it will be a few months out before we know anything.”
Creswell reported that Washington Township Twp Rd 51, Saint James Road, has a major issue. He explained that they tried to get the ditch cleaned out but the telephone line runs where they need to clean the ditch. The telephone company is Frontier and they are hard to get a hold of. Creswell did speak with someone from Frontier who stated he didn’t want to move the cable but it needs fixed they would come out and fix it.
There was discussion about the Trans Canada proposed ANR pipeline possibly coming through several townships in morrow County including Perry, North Bloomfield, Troy, Congress, Washington. and possibly a portion of Franklin.
The ANR pipeline is a proposed 30 inch pipeline with 750 to 900 psi pressure. Land agents are currently surveying the area. There is no specific route yet. If they proceed with the pipeline, there will be public meetings. Trans Canada must go through FERC, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as it is interstate pipeline. If the project proceeds it will be assigned a docket number which can be monitored through the FERC website at www.ferc.gov.
In member updates it was reported that Franklin Twp got government funds to replace a 72 inch culvert east of 314 on 119. Once the bid is accepted the road will be closed for several weeks with a projected end date of Mid November.
Perry Twp relayed that they have started to chip and seal roads and they are starting to put asphalt down where the Amish buggies have dug down into the roadway.
Peru twp noted that they will be accepting bids for phase two of the CR 21 project.
The next meeting of the RPC will be August 20, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Reach Donna Carver at 419-946-3010, ext. 1804 or on Twitter @MorrCoSentinel