Ward 3 welcomes new city residents with ordinance passage

February 6, 2019

Ward 3 of the Columbus City voting district has officially been updated to include the influx of new city residents as a result of the mid-September annexation taking place north of Lost Creek Parkway and 33rd Avenue.

During this week’s Columbus City Council meeting, the governing body voted in favor of an ordinance intended to redistrict and redefine the four city wards. The total calculated number of people being annexed into city limits is 216, resulting in Ward 3’s district lines not being changed, but rather extended.

State statute allows the annexed area to be added to an existing ward if the population of the area is less than 10 percent of the total ward population average, City Administrator Tara Vasicek said. The average population of all four city wards is 5,555 people, with 10 percent of that number being 556.

“Because that 216 (people) is less than 10 percent of the average of all the wards, we are able to add it to an existing ward without having to do a full redistricting,” Vasicek said. “If that number would have been something like 560, we would have had to do a full redistricting … Which would have taken significantly more effort.”

Vasicek said that some of the development north of Lost Creek Parkway and 33rd Avenue became eligible for annexation due to its proximity to Columbus City Limits.

“Cities like Columbus can only annex when urbanized land – land that has been platted and developed – is adjacent to city limits,” she said. “All the area that was annexed by the city became adjacent to city limits about two years ago when some development on north 33rd Avenue happened south of Lost Creek Parkway.”

Vasicek noted that people currently living in Ward 3, with its four voting precincts, will continue their normal election voting pattern at their same precincts. However, new people to the Ward will be informed in the upcoming months about which precinct they need to complete election activity at.

“This information is being sent to the election commissioner (Diane Olmer) and she will notify all registered voters in the areas that are affected by the where their new polling place will be,” Vasicek said.

Olmer said that people affected by the annexation are being dropped into three voting precincts all located in the Third Ward. Because of this, they will need to be informed about where to cast their votes.

“Before the annexation, Country Club Shores was in voting precinct Columbus Township B,” Olmer said. “Now that the city annexed them, they are not in Columbus Township anymore, they are part of the city precincts … Now there are going to be three different places (new residents) have to go vote instead of one. So, we will send household postcards notifying people of this. We are in the process of determining all the different subdivisions that this effects.”

Although adjusting boundaries can be a bit challenging, Vasicek said that it’s a result of growth.

“Columbus is growing, and that is a good thing,” she said. “So maybe at some point in the future there could be others (annexations), but not right now. No other areas even would qualify, and we can’t even consider annexation until those minimum requirements are met.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.