Hilliard residents adjacent to Glenmont, a nursing home near Avery and Davidson roads, are on edge as details remain unclear about what kind of residential development will occur at the site.
Glenmont, which is a Christian Science-based nursing center at 4599 Avery Road, is seeking to rezone a 0.5-acre plot from low-density residential to multifamily residential.
If rezoned, the 0.5-acre would share the same multifamily residential zoning as the 16 acres on which the nursing home is situated.
An ordinance rezoning the tract is scheduled for a first reading at the Feb. 10 meeting of Hilliard City Council. It was referred Jan. 27 to City Council by the city planning, projects and services committee.
Mark Schierloh, an administrator at Glenmont, said Jan. 28 that Glenmont is working with a developer to construct residential units separate from Glenmont's nursing home.
"I can't say much now," Schierloh said. "There are a lot of moving parts. But the neighbors will be the first to know if anything comes to fruition."
Residents pulled no punches about their concerns Jan. 27.
Mark Young, of Hessler Circle, said he was "very concerned" about additional apartments negatively affecting property value and increasing calls for police and fire service.
"The corridor has enough apartments," said Young, referring to the Avery Estates and Crystal Lake apartment complexes.
Jim DeVere, of Taylor Lane Avenue, was more pointed.
"When I hear multifamily, I think Cabot Cove, Bayside Commons (both in Columbus) and Avery Estates. ... It makes me think subsidized housing and the higher crime rates that come with it," DeVere said. "We're stakeholders and we want our voice heard."
Cheryl DeVere asked whether a century-old farmhouse, used as a facility support center for Glenmont's staff and located on the half acre to be rezoned, could be saved.
"We can't speculate about that," Councilman Al Iosue said.
Regarding the farmhouse, Schierloh would not say whether it would be remain at the site.
"It would be up to whatever we work out with a developer," Schierloh said.
Mayor Don Schonhardt said city officials share the concerns of the residents and have made their position known to Glenmont officials.
"We don't have a lot of ability to negotiate, but will salvage what we can," Schonhardt said.
"No one is clamoring to see this, but legally our hands are tied," said City Council President Nathan Painter.
What Glenmont intends to build remains unclear.
"No plans have been submitted for the development of any property," City Planner John Talentino said.
If those plans do not require a variance, residents will not have an opportunity to publicly question the plans.
"The development plans are a public record ... but multifamily is a conditional use," Talentino said.
He said it was possible the city simply would do an administrative review and issue a building permit.
Talentino said multifamily residential zoning allows a maximum of 11 units per acre but that existing units would be counted against the maximum number of total units.
However, city officials and Glenmont would need to reach an agreement on how to define the density at Glenmont as a nursing home with beds as opposed to single or multifamily units.
Glen Dugger, an attorney representing Glenmont, said the company is in the midst of a facilities study.
"The site is about 25 years old and they are going through their options," Dugger said.
Glenmont's 16 acres were rezoned to multifamily residential in 1984, Councilman Bill Uttley said.
The nursing home opened in 1986, according to Schierloh.
"We're not looking for a fight, but for a way to figure out a way for Glenmont to perpetuate itself responsibly," Dugger said. "I'd love to show you a plan, but there isn't one."