Dublin Villager

Scioto River corridor plan workshop set for Sept. 16

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

With a pedestrian Bridge, a riverside park and the realignment of Riverside Drive set for construction over the next few years, Dublin is hoping to adopt a strategy for the area.

A draft of the Scioto River corridor framework plan that will guide redevelopment in the area went before Dublin City Council last week, but questions prompted a Sept. 16 workshop on the document.

Last fall council members highlighted the area around the Scioto River from Tuller Road to the north, High Street to the west, Bridge Street to the south and Dale Drive to the east as the initial focus of the Bridge Street District redevelopment.

The relocation of Riverside Drive, a pedestrian bridge across the Scioto River and the creation of a new park along the east and west sides of the Scioto River were marked as "catalytic" projects and each is included for funding in the proposed five-year capital improvement program.

City staff believe the projects will cause other redevelopment in the area.

The plan given to council last week with approval expected Monday, Sept. 9, was intended to be framework for the area with urban development that would include a mixture of office, retail, housing and greenspace.

The walkable, urban plan met with some resistance from council members, however, especially when it came to "a strong urban edge" of three-to-six-story buildings lining Riverside Drive.

"It seems awfully dense to me," Councilman Richard Gerber said.

Councilwoman Cathy Boring also raised concerns of not enough public involvement in the development and shutting out the river with tall buildings.

"I can't support it in print like that," Boring said.

Dublin Planner Rachel Ray said the public can comment on proposed development at the beginning of the process.

Studies also say tall buildings can highlight and frame the river and surrounding parks, she said.

Gerber also questioned the need for so many apartments, but Terry Foegler, Dublin's director of strategic initiative and special projects, said market studies called for more apartments and the housing planned will be different from others offered in the area.

"That type of product does not exist today," Foegler said.

"This is one of the primary places this can occur."

The proposed framework for the Scioto River area did get some support.

"You presented to us what we gave you direction to do," Councilwoman Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher said, reminding council the Bridge Street District vision plan adopted by council called for just this.

"I'm confused by the comments of some of my colleagues," Chinnici-Zuercher said.

The Bridge Street District accounts for about 6 percent of the city and the Scioto River framework an even smaller percentage, Chinnici-Zuercher said.

Dublin needs to provide housing for young professionals companies within the city employ, Councilman John Reiner said.

"It's a commitment to our citizens and businesses that support this town," Reiner said.

"For this to work, people need to be able to come out of their unit and go to a Starbucks or restaurant," he said.

Chinnici-Zuercher did advocate for more of a public involvement process for proposed projects, though.

"This is too dramatic and important," she said.

Council plans to meet for a workshop on the Scioto River framework Sept. 16 to discuss the plan further.

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