A standing-room-only crowd applauded Dec. 20 when Canal Winchester Village Council unanimously approved an appeal filed by residents to stop a low-income housing project proposed at the former Davis Paints site.

A standing-room-only crowd applauded Dec. 20 when Canal Winchester Village Council unanimously approved an appeal filed by residents to stop a low-income housing project proposed at the former Davis Paints site.

A hearing was held Dec. 6 to take public comment on an appeal - filed by Michael Stobart and John and Kim Stedman - of the planning and zoning commission's decision to approve variances for the project.

Plans by NRP Group of Cleveland and Wagenbrenner Development of Columbus call for construction of a three-story, 46-unit apartment building. The approved variances allow a parking area less than 15 feet from the right of way and allow a structure to be built within the front and sideyard setbacks.

Members of a citizen group called CW Residents for Responsible Growth appealed the variance, which would allow a structure taller than 40 feet to be built in Canal Winchester's Historic District.

Law director Gene Hollins said according to the findings of fact report, council considered several criteria before making a decision.

"Council determines that appellants met their burden and that the only special circumstances or conditions result from the applicants' decision to design a pitched roof that exceeds the building height requirements," Hollins said. "The variance will confer upon the applicants an undue privilege in that the zoning code does not permit 42-foot buildings and variances have not been given for other lands in the same zoning district."

Resident Cindi Lynch thanked council for upholding the appeal.

"It may not be the end of this yet," she said. "We don't know that yet."

Lynch suggested the village might look at the standards in place and implement an overlay in the historic district.

Development director Chris Strayer said there is an Old Town overlay district in place.

However, Hollins said there is no land-use plan in place and that is something the village might want to consider.

"That is not a bad suggestion," he said. "If someone comes forward, we have a plan to look at and (see) if it is consistent or not."

Lynch said the village could consider hiring a consultant to tighten up the Old Town overlay district. Strayer said the downtown zoning commission is looking at the existing overlay to add clarity and fill any holes.

Council member Bobbie Mershon said Mayor Michael Ebert has been silent about the issue to date and asked his opinion.

Ebert said council previously turned down variances for two other senior projects.

"Both variances were denied for whatever reason," he said. "We didn't feel it was a necessity in granting this variance either. I felt what you voted tonight was the right thing."

Resident Julieanne Struble thanked council for listening to residents.

"You all heard several reasons why the vast majority (of residents) don't want this built," she said. "I have been over to that site and can't fathom the size of the building they want to put on this plot."

Pat Lynch, who serves on the village landmarks commission, said he was proud of the community for speaking against the proposed development. He said the CW Resident Facebook site received 400 to 500 visitors a day.

"People are informed and they want to know what is going on and to be given true and factual information," he said.

Pat Lynch said while there isn't a need for additional low-income housing in Canal Winchester, there is a need for market-rate housing for seniors.

"We have a lot of subsidized senior housing," Lynch said. "Consider that if this comes up again."