Dublin Villager

Residents skeptical about Bridge Street District plans

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The possibility of issuing as much as $5.7 million in bonds to cover land acquisition costs for a roundabout at Riverside Drive and state Route 161 brought out public dissent about Bridge Street District Plans.

Four homeowner and civic association representatives spoke to Dublin City Council last week, urging caution or downright distaste for plans recently unveiled for the Scioto River area of the Bridge Street District.

Last month, city officials and developers showcased plans for multi-story commercial and housing development along Riverside Drive, as well as a hotel and convention center, parking and grocery store.

To spur the development, the city plans to realign Riverside Drive, construct a roundabout at Riverside Drive and state Route 161, construct a pedestrian bridge across the Scioto River and add parks along the banks of the river.

A few members of the public urged council members not to issue bonds for the Riverside Drive/state Route 161 roundabout without some serious consideration.

"You haven't built a broad consensus of support yet," Randy Roth, a Grandee Cliffs resident, told council.

"It's important to think about these issues."

Concerns for Roth lie in the density of development planned on Riverside Drive, south of Interstate-270 and the traffic it could bring.

Robert McKnight of the East Dublin Civic Association cited issues with density, small set-backs and the large number of one-bedroom apartments planned for the Riverside Drive development.

"Are these people that can't afford another 150 square feet?" McKnight asked council.

"How long will it be until the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority comes to take over this place?" McKnight asked.

Questions also came from McKnight regarding access to roads during the realignment of Riverside Drive and the roundabout.

"Friends, I don't think you have a plan here," he said, calling the Bridge Street District plan started in 2009 a pipedream and nightmare.

Resident Scott Haring also urged more thought on the project.

"I didn't know it was going this far this fast," he said, citing worries of density and skepticism that new residents would be able to walk to work.

Later in the meeting, council members urged the public to stay involved, especially as development plans go before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The measure to issue bonds for land acquisition for the Riverside Drive/state Route 161 roundabout will go to council for a vote Nov. 18.

Council will also vote on issuing $12 million in bonds for the construction of Emerald Parkway between Riverside Drive and Sawmill Road and $9 million in bonds for design and right-of-way acquisition for I-270/U.S. Route 33 interchange improvements.

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