Who is Greasing Whose Palms Over the Greyhound Bus Terminal ?
COLUMBUS, OH – On July 17, Andy Ginther wrote a letter to Baron’s Bus president Thomas Goebel. Ginther dishonestly claimed that Baron’s company had applied for plans to construct a bus terminal at 845 North Wilson Road “under false pretense” and that “details of the scope and scale of operations were misrepresented.”
This could not be farther from the truth. The “Project Description” of the site plans that were submitted to the city and stamped for approval on June 8, 2023, state clearly, "change of use of an existing fuel station for a bus change depot.” A bus depot by definition is a “bus terminal.” The change in the use of this property was clear at all points.
Ginther and his Building Services Department knowingly and unlawfully allowed Baron’s to operate the terminal without an Occupancy Permit that would require running water, restrooms, required seating, and adequate maneuverability for buses. This is business as usual for Andy Ginther.
Ginther’s July17, 2023 letter also informs Mr. Goebel about our regional transportation plan, LinkUS. But Ginther fails to invite Baron’s to partner with the city, county, MORPC, and COTA to incorporate passenger bus service as part of the still developing regional transportation plan. Other than air travel, passenger bus service is currently the only other means of mass transportation in and out of Columbus that carries people from city to city and state to state. Dismissing regional passenger bus service as a partner in LinkUS is shortsighted and irresponsible. It is one of many common failures of Ginther’s 15-years at City Hall and the school board.
On Thursday August 17, Baron’s Bus applied for a Special Permit to the city of Columbus’s Board of Zoning (see attachment). It requested a portable restroom facility to serve Baron’s Bus terminal. The small portable building will have a women’s and men’s restroom and a separate handicapped restroom. The rest rooms will be air conditioned, heated, and have running water. Baron’s requests use of the portable rest rooms for one year.
Baron’s also decided to contract a well-connected City Hall local law firm, Smith and Hale, to represent them. Smith and Hale and its partners have paid tens of thousands of dollars over the years in campaign contributions to Ginther and former mayors and city council members.
The Special Permit for portable restrooms should not be allowed. The request is for too little and far too late. Where is the additional seating? How are dozens of bus passengers going to fit in the small seating area during the winter months? What about proper maneuverability for the buses? The lot is too small for a bus terminal. The bus terminal building has been struck twice by buses. Bus passenger safety is an issue. Where is the sheltered COTA bus stop? Why is Ginther and his Building Department allowing this to continue? Who is getting their palms greased? This is The Columbus Way, the tradition that Andy inherited and proudly continues to the endangerment of lives, neighborhoods, and the shame of the city.