Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
By Pat Royse
Councilors begin Pullman Bay land swap
  Celina counselors gave tentative approval to a land swap package Monday they believe will allow the city to create safer access to Pullman Bay Park.
The vote moved two proposed ordinances from first to second reading, following questioning by council members. Ultimately both passed six to one. Councilman Ed Jefferies was the lone dissenter on both proposals.
The city plans to close County Road, south of East Market Street, where the current park entrance crosses over the R. J. Corman railroad track, and to create a new entrance on Lake Shore Drive. To do that, the city needs enough land to create a road, as well as maintain access to the properties adjacent to the park.
Under the proposal, the land being vacated by the road closing will revert in its ownership to properties on the west side of the road. Property south of East Market Street and north of the railroad right-of way will go to Casey Jones Restaurant owners, John Bertke, Linda L. Poor and Lois A. Spohn, each receiving an undivided one third interest.
All of the vacated County Road south of the railroad crossing will go the Amstutz Properties II, LLC, except for a 10-foot wide portion adjacent and parallel to the east right of way, which will become the property of the Celina Wine Store, which owns the Pullman Bay Restaurant.
Amstutz Properties also agreed to trade lot five, amounting to 0.149 acre and a 0.024 acre in Dickman's Addition for a 0.535 acre parcel in the park in lieu of cash. The exchange will allow for a safer entrance into the park and the park's parking lot from Lake Shore Drive. It also allows Amstutz to square off his property.
City councilors and Safety Service Director Kent Bryan, who has been working on the problem for some time, said all agreements on the part of property owners were voluntary. Bryan also reported that R. J. Corman was concerned about the safety at the crossing and supportive of the effort.
In order to make the trades legally, the city got permission from the Ohio legislature in the form of House Bill 119 in the 127th General Assembly. Municipalities normally are restricted from trading properties they own by state law.
With the trades, a portion of lot five will be public right-of-way and Amstutz is permitted to access its property from there. The existing County Road, left after most has been vacated, will be reconnected to the new Pullman Bay Drive. Size and future location of the access drive between the two remains with the planning commission.
Similar proposals were first introduced and subsequently withdrawn last June after council wanted various changes in the complicated set up. Among the changes, Bryan said the city had to redo some survey lines. The new proposals also report minor changes in land swaps, as well.
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