Dublin Villager

Columbus proposes new rules for extended-stay facilities

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The city of Columbus wants to tighten development standards for future extended-stay facilities.

Proposed legislation would require extended-stay businesses to comply with standards associated with apartment residential use, as opposed to the current commercial standards that apply to motels and hotels, said Mark Messer, acting director of development.

"I think the increased standards are not overly burdensome, as evidenced by the fact many of these extended-stay hotel developers have voluntarily included these standards in their projects already," Messer said.

Generally, "extended stay" applies to units designed for stays of more than 30 days, Messer said.

The proposed rules, which would have to be approved by Columbus City Council, address parking standards, parkland dedication and setbacks that apply to multi-unit apartments, even though the extended stays will maintain their commercial zoning designation, Messer said.

Specifically, under the legislation, extended stays would be required to provide 1.5 parking spaces per unit, the same as apartments, while hotels and motels are required to supply only one per unit, Messer said.

Parkland dedication and building setback requirements would be based on the size of the project, he said.

John Ehlers, president of the Northwest Civic Association, said developers can now build extended-stay lodging without having to approach local civic associations or area commissions for review, which offers officials and the public an opportunity to comment on the projects.

"I think it's important to know that the building codes are there so the community can enforce standards that are agreed upon by the current residents," Ehlers said.

"Density is an important thing," he said.

"Parking is an import thing. Green space is an important thing. And these are all areas in which the commercial code is a lot less strict than the residential code."

Messer said the proposed legislation was not driven by complaints.

"The state started giving licenses for extended-stay hotels a few years back and we realized we have nothing in our code dealing with extended-stay hotels, so any requirements desired beyond those of regular hotels need to be codified so developers can be clear what standards they must comply with," Messer said.

"We are being proactive to ensure the code is updated to reflect the requirements for these extended-stay hotels."

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