Hilliard Northwest News

Roberts Road

Apartment plan has neighbors on edge

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After encountering resistance from potential neighbors, the builder of a proposed apartment complex on Hilliard's doorstep will wait until May to present it again to the Columbus Development Commission.

Dozens of Wynne Oak Estates residents attended the commission's March 14 meeting to oppose the multifamily development proposed for a 5-acre parcel at 5652 Roberts Road.

The Columbus development would be on the north side of Roberts Road, just west of Hilliard-Rome Road, and would abut single-family residences along Oldwynne Road and Rustling Oak Boulevard in Columbus.

Commission members postponed the application until this month to further consider the results of a traffic study.

Instead, Mike Shannon, an attorney representing the applicant, Tom Bell of Tom Bell Properties, said last week the case now will be heard May 9. Bell has requested a zoning change on the property to allow a multifamily residential development.

Shannon said Bell has made concessions since the meeting last month that demonstrate a willingness to mitigate the effects of the development and take into account the concerns of neighbors.

"We met with neighbors who are adamant against multifamily," Shannon said.

Originally, Bell sought to build 60 apartments on the 5-acre parcel, a density of 12 units per acre.

The amended application is for 44 units on the same parcel, about a 30-percent decrease, Shannon said. The new residential density would be almost nine units per acre.

"In addition, the apartments will be two stories rather than three," Shannon said.

He said an adequate buffer also would be built between the apartments and the Hilliard homes.

Some residents said they still were concerned.

Steve Strawser, of Oldwynne Road, said the number of proposed units exceeds the density for the area's comprehensive plan, the Trabue-Roberts Area Plan.

However, Shannon said, the Columbus Planning Division's recommendation for the parcel is seven to eight units per acre for the area.

"You can't put a dollar amount it until it's done," Strawser said of what he believes would be a negative effect on property values in Wynne Oak Estates, particularly those that abut the new apartments and the adjacent Brookfield Village in Hilliard.

"Real estate is all about location," Strawser said. "Why would someone buy my house if they can go two streets over (and not be in view of the apartments)?

"I've worked hard for what I have. ... I can't move my house. (Bell) can buy other land."

Bell Properties has no recent developments, but built single-family residences in the Pickerington and Hilliard communities in the 1990s, Shannon said. Those developments include Hilliard Run on Davidson Road.

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