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Quiet night at council meeting

WORTHINGTON — In a short meeting Monday night, the Worthington city council had only three items on the agenda.

Two of the items were in the engineering department, while community and economic development had one.

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Despite discussing three matters, only two were acted upon during the meeting.

Under engineering, the city approved Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) to design the 10th Avenue bridge over Whiskey Ditch.

“Their contract is really limited to just the bridge structure,” city Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield said. “We will be working on the roadway issues, the trail issues — we’re just looking for the structural removal and replacement experience, which they’ll have.”

The second item for engineering was discussed for more than 15 minutes, but no action was taken.

The council considered the approval of services to prepare application for conditional letter of map revision. The object of the project is to potentially shrink the floodplain in Worthington.

“A key thing we can get done and should do, regardless of how we fund it, is to get what’s called a conditional letter of map revision,” Haffield said. “One of the big benefits of this project is if we can shrink that floodplain as FEMA will recognize it, then a lot of people won’t be subject to the requirement of flood insurance.”

However, the council heard multiple options on flood mitigation at a meeting late last year and wanted to look at those options again before making a decision.

The council had the first reading of a change of zone within the city of Worthington. The Planning Commission has studied the land use activities in the area bounded by Oxford Street, Rowe Avenue, Stower Drive and McMillan Street.

“The results of the unorganized development have resulted in mixture of various land uses that doesn’t comply with the current zoning regulations,” Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis said. “That has led to the lack of continued investment to several of these properties.”

The commission concluded that there were changes that needed to be made on the regulatory side to encourage reinvestment in the target area.

The council approved land abutting Oxford Street and McMillan Street be rezoned from light manufacturing to general business. The remaining light manufacturing land will be rezoned general manufacturing.

“The commission is proposing these changes to reflect the desired land uses that are outlined in the comprehensive plan and to allow for reinvestment of properties within the subject area,” Chapulis said. “The commission did hold a public meeting on the proposed changes at its Feb. 4 meeting.”

Chapulis said there were some property owners who were at the public meeting. However, he said the lack of owners at Monday’s meeting shows that questions have been answered.

“I was at the Planning and Zoning meeting and there were quite a few land owners there,” council member Scott Nelson said. “I think we did answer all their questions and I think they were satisfied. I think most of them saw it as positive for the city and themselves.”

On the consent agenda, the council approved $1,500 for sponsorship for the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp.’s 2014 Bioscience Conference.

In the council member’s reports, Ron Wood highlighted his meeting with the Water and Light Commission, where each commissioner received an iPad to use for agendas.

“I think since the Public Utilities is a part of the city, that the Public Utilities, with their money in reserve, could buy them for the city council,” Mayor Alan Oberloh said, who added he’s thought the council should move forward with electronic information.

To begin the meeting, local Boy Scout Troop 134 lead the council in the pledge of allegiance.

Council member Diane Graber had an excused absence for Monday’s meeting.

Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.