Delaware County will join forces with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a study of the Upper Scioto Watershed.
The Delaware County Commissioners on Thursday gave Administrator Tim Hansley the OK to draft a letter of intent for the county to participate in the study.
The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Ken O’Brien voting against the measure.
He said his opposition is based on his belief that oftentimes watershed studies are designed to stifle development.
“I believe that the ultimate goal is that they are trying to limit development in Delaware County through the watershed,” he said.
O’Brien also said he is concerned the county could be locked into a financial obligation based on what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decides to do to prevent flooding in the watershed.
However, Hansley said the letter is a non-binding agreement to take part in the initial study, at no cost to the county.
“Wouldn’t it be better to have a seat at the table?” he asked.
Commissioner Gary Merrell echoed those sentiments.
“I would feel much more comfortable being involved in the process,” he said. “Everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve heard, leads me to believe this is simply an investigatory process at this point.”
The preliminary study is set to cost $100,000, which will be paid for entirely with federal funds. If a more detailed study is needed, the county could be asked to foot a portion of the bill.
The Upper Scioto Watershed covers nine counties. Just a portion of Delaware County – in the Radnor Township and Thompson Township area – is included in the watershed.
The study would explore flood control options and water quality issues.