COLUMBIANA - The city of Columbiana just got bigger.
Following a brief public hearing and some discussion Tuesday evening, City Council approved the annexation of 17.36-acres of commercial property from Fairfield Township into the city.
The state Route 14 property will be under a C-4 zoning classification.
The classification was requested by property owners Earl Corey and Tucker Cope, and although under some scrutiny by planning commission member Ron LaLonde at the August meeting, was favored by council and those who commented during the hearing.
LaLonde argued in August that C-4 can allow for things like truck storage and even the conditional use and establishment of sexually oriented businesses.
Attorney Mark Hutson, who represents Corey and Cope, reiterated during the hearing that he believed the classification was necessary in that area.
He previously said he doesn't foresee a "sex parlor" or truck stop being established there, and that adjoining property on the north side of state Route 14 is also C-4.
On Tuesday he said the area is suited to C-4 because of its location.
"I request this be zoned C-4 because that allows for commercial usage, which is high traffic volume," he said.
Sean Zentner, of Edwards Circle, also commented.
He said that although he is in favor of the annexation, he is concerned about Redpath Drive being annexed into the city.
The road is one of two others that border the annexed property. State Route 14 and Old Route 14 also border the property.
"I'm all for progress in this city, we need it. My concern is Redpath Drive. From my understanding, the city will be taking over half and the other half will be in Fairfield Township You are taking responsibility for a road this is very unsafe," he said.
He presented council with photographs of a portion of the road where it curves near state Route 14.
"You still can't see around that turn," he said. "You're going to increase traffic on Redpath Drive by two to three folds. I'd hate to see some kid get hit on a bicycle because this road is so crooked."
He suggested council look into a way to "straighten" the road so it connects with state Route 14 and avoid the curve.
Hutson said the council and planning commission would deal with that issue at the appropriate time.
"I doubt anyone is going to allow entrances up there as far as Redpath. There are going to have to be a lot of improvements to that road to do that," he said.
Robert Struharik, of Master Plan Builders, pointed out there are "tremendous" regulations regarding installing a new entrance to a road, or turning lanes.
"Ohio Department of Transportation guidelines need to be followed," he said.
He was the third and final individual to comment during the public hearing, and also favored the C-4 status.
Zentner had also questioned how the Redpath Drive would be maintained since it would be divided.
Municipal Attorney Dan Blasdell explained that the line between city and township would be split down the middle of the roadway along each property and that ordinances state that if there were a future dispute regarding which entity is required to provide maintenance, the city would take on that burden.
The annexation was approved unanimously.