The Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 Monday to approve plans for a senior housing project on Waterloo Street.

The Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 Monday to approve plans for a senior housing project on Waterloo Street.

Member Dan Konold cast the lone negative vote.

Significant changes to the project include reducing the building's height from three stories to two and using architecture to give the building more of a townhouse feature, project architect Randall Woodings said.

"Going through the village of Canal Winchester, we saw a lot of Victorian 1850 to 1900 architecture," he said. "We were trying to match those types of features on this building."

There are 50 spaces proposed for the 50-unit development. Commission member Dan Konold asked if parking meets village requirements.

Zoning officer Andrew Dutton said the parking in the plan is less than the required minimum. Commission member Michael Vasko said he was not overly concerned about the parking because about half the people who will live in the units will not have cars.

Canal Winchester resident John Lewis, president of the Village of Charleston Lake subdivision, said all the residents there oppose the development. He said there are concerns about building elevations, parking, density and the size of bedrooms.

"No one has come forward to me or the board for this project," he said.

Lewis said to the best of his knowledge, the developer didn't fix the issues the planning commission had with the proposal.

"The changes that they made are dramatic changes but they don't address some of your original concerns," he said.

Lewis said he was concerned about two low-income senior apartment projects being proposed for Canal Winchester. The second is also a proposal to redevelop the former Davis Paints site by Wagenbrenner Development of Columbus and NRP Group of Cleveland. Those plans call for a three-story, 46-unit facility at the downtown location.

Konold said the two senior apartment projects are both applying for tax credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. He said the planning commission should decide which project would be more suitable for Canal Winchester.

"I would prefer to redevelop a blighted brownfield than a greenfield development," he said.

Commission member Joe Abbott said there is no greenspace in the project being proposed for downtown, indicating he preferred the Waterloo Street senior housing plans.

"We don't have to decide between the two facilities," commission member Bill Christiansen said.

Sean Johnson, director of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency's Office on Planning, Preservation and Development, said the agency received 109 applications this year for housing credits. Between 35 and 40 of those projects would receive funding, he said.

Johnson said it would be highly unlikely that both Canal Winchester projects would receive tax credits, especially because the projects would serve the same market area and population.

"Both are targeted toward senior citizens," he said. "We have a list of criteria in our allocation plan based on project characteristics, development team experience and what type of population they are serving."

He said a decision on what projects will receive tax credits will be made by March 17.

Vasko said the planning commission had been concerned about the square footage of some of the units proposed for Waterloo Street, which were smaller than village guidelines.

Commission member Jim Knowlton said a lot of 1950s-era homes in the village had three bedrooms and were only 1,000 square feet in size. He said he grew up in a home that was only 900 square feet. The two-bedroom units being proposed are larger than 900 square feet, he said.

"That is pretty good size unit for a two-bedroom," he said.

Resident Angie Smyer said the Davis Paint site is a much more suitable place for senior apartments than Waterloo Street. In addition, she said she is concerned about parking and not having a resident manager on duty 24 hours a day.

"I have an issue with who is going to be there, who is going to live in there," she said.

Vasko asked Smyer what type of development would be suitable for the Waterloo property, indicating there would be more noise, traffic and activity with a restaurant or commercial use.

"I'm trying to understand what it is that would be more acceptable to you," Vasko said.

Smyer said the property is zoned commercial and a restaurant is more suitable than senior housing.

"In Canal, we really need restaurants," she said.

Knowlton said he would much rather live next door to someone's grandma than a restaurant.

"Sit in an O'Charley's parking lot at 9 p.m. and see how much you like it, as opposed to watching the lights go off at this facility at 9 p.m.," he said.