The members of the Northland Community Council's development committee had no hesitation last week in backing a proposed switch in the land use for a site on Morse Road from a skateboard park to what's called a residential hotel.

The members of the Northland Community Council's development committee had no hesitation last week in backing a proposed switch in the land use for a site on Morse Road from a skateboard park to what's called a residential hotel.

Committee members easily backed the request for a change in the existing site plan, according to chairman Dave Paul, after a presentation from Jill Tangerman of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, representing Faith Christian Centers of Columbus Inc., owners of the property at 4042 Morse Road.

"The committee was really quite impressed," he said. "They felt it was quite a good use - in fact, a much better use than a skateboard park."

During her meeting with the committee, which offers advisory opinions only with a final decision resting with city officials, Tangerman explained that a residential hotel is already a permitted use in the underlying zoning for the property.

However, a site plan included in the commercial planned development created when the site was to become a skateboard park would prevent a switch to the various buildings, garages and carports now being proposed, she said. The skateboard park proposal would have seen a single large commercial structure erected on the property, according to Tangerman.

Paul recalled that after the skateboard park concept was approved some years ago, another rezoning case came before the development panel to place storage units at 4042 Morse Road, not far from Interstate 270. It would have been called "Cram-It Storage," committee member Dave Cooper said.

That proposal has been withdrawn, Tangerman said.

Residential hotels, sometimes referred to as "corporate housing," are a relatively new designation created by state legislators, she said. A sort of hybrid between apartments and hotel rooms, guests are required to stay a minimum of 30 days. Typically, people using residential hotels stay between six months and a year and a half, Tangerman said.

Such facilities must meet all the safety codes of regular hotels, but they are far less transient than even extended-stay operations, she added.

"This is strictly a site-plan issue," commented committee member William Logan.

The residential hotel for 4042 Morse Road would have 180 suites, Tangerman said in response to a question from Cooper.

If and when final city approval is granted for the change, Tangerman said Faith Christian Centers would sell the parcel to Columbus Executive Suites, an independent local firm.

The development committee's recommendation for approval was predicated on any changes to the site plan submitted at last week's meeting being limited on allowable on-site signage and minor changes in landscaping required by city officials, according to Paul.