Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Big Darby Accord

What is the Big Darby Accord? How does it affect the schools? Should our community support it?

The Big Darby Accord is an agreement being negotiated among ten political entities that have an interest in the way development takes place along the Big Darby River, which is the western boundary of the Hilliard City School District. For a more complete discussion of the Accord, please go to the Save Hilliard Schools website

Our School District officials are not clear on their stance regarding the Accord. In fact, the placement of the new high school at the corner of Roberts and Walker Rds required that the land use component of the Accord plans had to be changed -- a deal brokered by Mayor Schonhardt, I believe, to take care of his developer friends. I have long believed that the School District gets manipulated into making decisions which benefit residential developers more than they do the community.

Mayor Schonhardt has been at odds with the Accord from the beginning. In April 2006, I warned the community that the Mayor was withdrawing from the Accord process. That prompted a response from Butch Seidel saying that Hilliard remains committed to the Accord. Nonetheless, the City of Hilliard remains a holdout. The Mayor says it is a bad deal for Hilliard unless some changes are made. But among the changes he wants to make is an increase in the development density in Brown Twp.

To the Mayor's credit, he is also expressing concern that if Columbus provides water without annexation, we could get a building boom within the Hilliard School District which bypasses the provisions of the Win-Win Agreement.

The large landowners in Brown Twp oppose the Big Darby Accord. They believe it interferes with their ability to sell their land to developers. The Brown Township Trustees and many of the homeowners in Brown Twp support the Accord.

What are your feelings?

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