Marble Cliff Village Council has approved a proposed memorandum of understanding between the village and the city of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department that would establish guidelines for the operation of the portion of the Scioto Trail Bikeway located in the village.

Marble Cliff Village Council has approved a proposed memorandum of understanding between the village and the city of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department that would establish guidelines for the operation of the portion of the Scioto Trail Bikeway located in the village.

Columbus plans to construct an extension of the bikeway this year from the Riversedge complex at 1335 Dublin Road to Fifth Avenue and from the Dublin Road water plant to Grandview Avenue.

Village Council approved a draft of the memorandum at its May 21 meeting. Columbus has not yet approved the document.

"Columbus has assured us that the project will not be a maintenance burden for Marble Cliff," said village Engineer Louis McFarland.

The proposed memorandum of understanding states the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department must maintain and administer the portion of the bikeway located in the village.

Columbus would be responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the trail and for all major maintenance and construction along the bikeway.

The village, through its service contract with the city of Grandview Heights, would have law enforcement jurisdiction along the Marble Cliff section of the bike trail and would enforce village ordinances and Ohio Revised Code.

In other village business, Wayne Harer, executive vice president at Continental Real Estate, presented council with an analysis of commercial property on Dublin Road.

Preferred Living, a residential development company, has proposed building two high-end apartment buildings on the former Custom Coach property at 1400 Dublin Road. The company has indicated it would be interested in trading a one-acre section of village-owned land located toward the rear of the site in exchange for keeping an acre at the front of the property available for commercial development.

Some council members have expressed concern about approving the residential development without considering whether there is a realistic chance for commercial redevelopment of the property.

Along Dublin Road and adjacent areas in Marble Cliff and Grandview, there is about 1.4 million square feet of commercial space, about 30 percent of which is vacant, Harer said.

By comparison, about 15 percent of commercial space in central Ohio suburbs is vacant, he said, and about 1.5 million out of 10 million square feet in downtown Columbus is empty.

The higher vacancy rate in and around Marble Cliff is partly due to the inefficiency of the area's commercial buildings, Harer said.

Newer buildings in other areas are more efficient, are ADA compliant and have higher parking ratios, he said.

The best chance for commercial redevelopment of the Custom Coach site likely would be an urgent-care facility or another type of medical use, Harer said.

Those types of uses could make use of the visibility of the site and its easy access, he said.

There isn't much chance someone would want to build an office building on the Custom Coach property because there is simply too much commercial space vacancy at this time, Harer said.

Preferred Living continues to work on the details of its residential development proposal, said Mayor Kent Studebaker.

A potential issue has been raised by Grandview Heights City School District Superintendent Ed O'Reilly, Studebaker said.

O'Reilly has indicated it may be possible that the residential development would sit just far enough away from Stevenson Elementary School that transportation would need to be provided to elementary-age children living in the apartment buildings, Studebaker said.

It is to be determined if that would truly be the case, he said.