Washington City Council members have tabled a final decision on annexing a small parcel of land where a controversial billboard is located.
The council held a public hearing last month on the request from Jeff Wilson, Wilson & Company Properties, for voluntary annexation of a 1.23-acre parcel at 4832 South Point Road.
An ordinance approving the annexation petition was on the council’s agenda Tuesday night but Connie Groff, council member, objected to voting on it. She said she thought that it would not be brought up until the city had a letter from the county stating that Wilson had satisfied all the conditions in a court judgment, including obtaining proper building and electrical permits for the sign.
Groff said she checked with a county official Tuesday and as of 4:30 p.m., Wilson had not obtained the county permits.
This is Wilson’s third attempt to get the property annexed. He became embroiled in a dispute with both Franklin County and the city over the digital billboard he erected on the site because he failed to obtain a permit from the county and because the billboard does not meet county or city setback requirements.
If the council approves the request, both the billboard and a house on the property would come into the city as nonconforming uses, it has been pointed out.
City Counselor Mark Piontek said he spoke with Matt Becker, an attorney for the county, who said that Wilson had applied for the necessary permits but needed the plans to be sealed by an engineer and that had not been done yet.
The county agreed to drop several misdemeanor charges against Wilson for code violations if he met the terms of the court judgment which included paying the county’s legal fees in the case, obtaining the permits and petitioning the city for voluntary annexation.
“I’d prefer that we wait until all terms of the judgment are satisfied,” Groff said.
“We’re here to decide to annex the property, not the sign,” said Councilman Steve Sullentrup. “It’ll be there either way.”
Piontek said the council could not approve the annexation ordinance contingent on Wilson obtaining the permits.
The council voted 6 to 2 on Groff’s motion to table action until the city has a letter from the county regarding the permits.
Groff, Carolyn Witt, Joe Holdmeier, Walt Meyer, Steve Sullentrup and Mark Hidritch voted yes on the motion. Councilmen Tim Brinker and Jeff Mohesky voted no.