BY BRIAN JONES
COLUMBUS – The Columbus City Council voted 4-0 to proceed with special improvements to a two roads in Ward 6 at its June 6 meeting. The decision was made over the objections of one family who live along the road. Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens and Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner were not present.
At the last council meeting City Attorney Jeff Turnage asked the board to consider improvements to portions of Hunter’s Hollow and White Oak Drive. The area in question is a private road, but will be brought up to appropriate standards and then given to the city. Turnage explained that the city will pay for the repairs up front, but then the residents along the road will pay a special assessment to pay for two-thirds of the cost.
The council held a public hearing Tuesday night, and one family, the Fentons, objected.
The assessment for each citizen is set by how much frontage they own along the road. The Fentons live along the road, but do not have access to their home from it; they were the only objector.
Turnage said that he didn’t know of a way around charging the Fentons an assessment.
“It appears that there is only one objector,” Turnage said. “In order to stop this project you would have to have more than 50 percent of the residents who live along the roadway to object at this hearing. In the absence of that we’re going to move forward.
“The statute is very specific on how the percentages are to be assessed to the owners,” Turnage said. “It says that the homeowners living along the roadway will be assigned a share based on their road frontage. I don’t know any way around following what the law says. I know it has disappointing results for the Feltons, and I am sorry for that. Unless you wanted to quick-claim deed that frontage to the city, which would land-lock the property and probably make it worth a whole lot less, then I don’t know of any other reasonable solution.”
The board approved the resolution for special improvements unanimously, on a motion from Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin and a second from Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones.
In other business, the council:
l Approved an all-way stop at Fourth Street and 13th Avenue South.
l Approved an all-way stop at Second Street and Second Avenue South.
l Approved hiring six entry-level police officers.