Granville council candidates debate pros and cons of adding development


GRANVILLE – Candidates for the village council discussed how to add commercial developments and housing without harming the appeal of the village and the school system at a recent candidates’ forum.

Three council seats are sought by five candidates in the general election on November 2. The new four-year term begins on December 1. The board has seven members.

The nominees are incumbents Matt McGowan and Mayor Melissa Hartfield, and Brian Goss, Kim Keethler Ball and Aaron Olbur.

Ball, owner of Readers’ Garden bookstore and resident in the community for 25 years, is on the Granville Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee. She said some business growth should be pursued.

“A forward-thinking focus on economic diversification needs to be in the foreground right now,” Ball said. “This growth can diversify our tax base, which is what we need to continue to improve services to our community. “

Goss, who moved to the area eight years ago and lived in the village for three years, is retired from the Navy and trains in several sports. He is not a fan of the major changes in the village.

W. Brian Goss

“I kinda like Granville the way it is,” Goss said. “I think we can grow smart and do things to improve businesses here, but the businesses here are already phenomenal and improving.”

Olbur, New Balance sales manager and co-owner of Bella’s Beans coffee roast, said a little encouragement could motivate some to open a business in the village.

“The concern I hear the most in our village tends to be that we are not an accessible village and that it is not easy to work with us, when it comes to economic growth,” said said Olbur. “We have many restaurateurs, artists, musicians looking for that help and that opportunity.

Aaron Olbur

Hartfield, who served as mayor for 16 years and on council for 20 years, said the village is expanding water service to the River Road and Weaver Drive areas for potential development and is coordinating with the Township of Granville on an economic development district to expand water and sewage.

“The village of Granville is currently active in appropriate economic growth,” Hartfield said.

McGowan, a council holder and two-year former mayor, said he wanted to continue as the council’s watchdog on finance.

“I think it’s important to encourage positive businesses to increase our tax base and not place a burden on our infrastructure,” McGowan said.

Matt McGowan

Two candidates said the village needed more housing options.

Olbur said: “Our village does not have enough apartments or condos. Seniors have few options to downsize without leaving the community. Having apartments could help alleviate the jobs crisis generated by COVID, thereby bringing more dollars to our city. “

Ball added, “We have to have a variety of life options and by variety I mean financial variety. We have businesses that employ hourly workers. Are there places where these employees can live in our community? “

Hartfield said the village could use more housing for young professionals and perhaps condos, but there is a fine line between providing the necessary housing and not overburdening schools and taxpayers.

Melissa Hartfield

“We should be thoughtful in planning for such an addition that it does not turn into a development where a developer operates the school system with more units, little or no green space, and a difficult walk,” Hartfield said.

“One example is the development proposal presented across River Road last winter, using the Granville Schools in the city of Newark. It created a huge uproar. “

McGowan said, “In today’s market, I think it would be very difficult for a developer to build anything affordable in the village.

Goss said: “I like the size of the schools in Granville a bit and I’m pretty sure most people I know like the way we are in terms of size and capacity and quality. of the education you receive. “

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Twitter: @ kmallett1958

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