Far Northwest Coalition


Far Northwest Coalition

Columbus, OH


April 30, 2013


The Far Northwest Coalition (FNWC) met for its regularly scheduled meeting at the Northwest Library on Hard Road.  Members present were John Murley, Kelly Thompson and Rich Herner.  The members introduced themselves to the residents in attendance.


Jack Reynolds, representing the owner (Dr. Chris Smiley), presented a request to amend a Council Variance from 1984 concerning the property located at 2801 Olentangy River Road.  It is currently being used as an optometrist’s office (Council Variance allowed 1 doctor and 3 staff members).  The occupant is moving the practice and wishes to sell the subject property.  The request is to amend the Council Variance to allow more uses of the property, to facilitate a sale.  The normal permitted uses vary but are all of an office nature, with the exception of a call center.  The applicant wished to allow those permitted uses, again with the exception of a call center.  The Council Variance allowed for 13 parking spaces, with 12 being currently in use on the property.


Tina Mohn of the Columbus Rec and Parks, Patti Schlaegel, Principal of Worthington’s Granby Elementary School and Rick Armstrong of the Worthington Schools made a presentation to the group concerning the installation of a “pump track” for bicycle riders on the Hard Road Park site, adjacent to McCord Middle School.  This is a shared vision with Columbus Rec and Parks and Worthington Schools.  Both groups had the idea and were pursuing it separately but finally made connections to allow for the joint effort. 


There are only 2 other pump tracks of this nature in Ohio, with most being in bike specific parks out west.  Several residents showed concern over the project; one concern being the uniqueness of the proposed facility and that there could be users from all over the state coming here to use the track.  Another concern was the lack of supervision for the track and whether it could be taken over by older users and not allowing use by younger kids, as well as the issue of the safety of the riders.  Concern was also noted for the trees in the immediate area and trying to keep users on the track, rather than “destroying” the unique environment, with a trail bike atmosphere.  It was felt that it might be a benefit being adjacent to the school property, for both parking and behavior.  There is currently a dirt bike path on school property, which is envisioned to be complementary to the pump track.


The plan is to keep as many mature trees as possible, with the removal of the honeysuckle ground cover only.  The track is of a modular design, where pieces are fitted together and a custom design can be put in place.  However, a limited number of bikers can use the track at any one time, which resulted in the concern about the possible age difference of users.  It was noted that the Hard Road Park is a public park and users can come from many different places.


There was a lengthy discussion, which included the above concerns as well as the possibility of added noise and crime.  The only access should be through the school parking lot but residents still voiced their concern of the bikers using the area as a dirt bike trail trying to get to the pump track.  The presenters noted that part of the plan would be to obtain an access over the railroad tracks to the area but admitted that would some time well down the road.


After some additional discussion, it was moved and seconded to approve the request to amend the Council Variance for the property located at 2801 Olentangy River Road to allow additional permitted uses as presented, and the FNWC would echo the prohibition of a call center being located on the subject property.  Motion passed. 


The FNWC members then stated their support of the conceptual project for the Pump Track as presented to the group.


There being no further business to come before the FNWC, the meeting was adjourned.


Respectfully submitted,


 Rich Herner

FNWC Secretary

Posted by far on 05/20/2014
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