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Columbus City Council set to vote on Big Darby agreement

The development plan for Big Darby Creek Watershed is finalized. Now it's time for officials from the 10 involved jurisdictions to take the agreement to their local districts. Columbus City Council held public hearings on the Big Darby plan.

During the meeting, City Council members heard from local residents and got their own questions answered about the Big Darby Creek Master Plan.

Recently, Columbus city officials changed policy positions on an aspect of the Big Darby proposal. Once opposed to the use of septic systems in the Darby, Council Member Maryellen O'Shaughnessy says the city now supports using septic systems.

"This plan allows for selective use of certain systems but under certain guidelines, that I believe need to be impeccable," O'Shaughnessy said.

O'Shaughnessy says the septic systems will be built under strict guidelines. She says additional standards for oversight and monitoring for the systems are still being developed

"They will have standard set that's higher than usual and there will be vigorous monitoring of the streams to make sure there is no environmental degradation. They are still in the process of putting together these additional standards for these alternative waste water treatment systems. And I just want to make sure we have an opportunity to shut these things down if there is any evidence that alternative waste water treatment systems begin to pollute the Darby," O'Shaughnessy said.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman says he thinks the Big Darby plan strikes a balance between environmental preservation and development

"We came together as a region really to focus on two goals; one was to protect the nation's most pristine, most endangered watersheds. The second goal was to plan for future growth. And utilized the concept that we can both our environment and have responsible development," Coleman said.

Columbus City Council is scheduled to vote on the Big Darby Master Plan July 31st. Columbus will be the first of the 10 jurisdictions affliated with the Big Darby project to bring the proposal to a vote.