Several Sunbury Road residents voiced their strong opposition last week to a proposal for a 160-suite residential hotel for business executives at 5910-5942 Sunbury Road.
A presentation about the project before the Northland Community Council development committee was not a formal hearing and committee members did not take a vote on the Corporate Executive Suites project. Attorney Jill Tangeman, representing Metro Development LLC, said she simply wanted to provide the panel with information in preparation for possibly returning next month to seek the committee's approval.
She also said she was hoping to get feedback from the community, and she got plenty of that.
"I'm not against development, but I don't want a business moving into the house next door to me in Woodstream," said Don Pease, who moved to the area in 1964. "That doesn't seem right to me. This ... just doesn't fit the area. The density of this is just incredible."
"We feel it's closer to a residential project," Tangeman replied, noting that the property in question is right off state Route 161, which is a freeway in that area, and that it's highly unlikely the site would ever be developed with single-family homes.
The proposal is "jarringly out of sync with the area," resident Robert Evans said.
"It is a residential area," resident Lisa Silva said. "There's nothing commercial about it. The only thing you see in that area is homes, and homes with families that don't move in and out."
The long-term stay facility would be for corporate executives on temporary assignment in the area and for those who move to central Ohio and wait to settle on a specific community in which to purchase a home, according to Tangeman.
"It's really transitional housing," she told committee members. "We thought that this was an appropriate spot. It does look more residential in character as opposed to a Red Roof Inn or something like that."
Tangeman said she herself lives off Sunbury Road in Westerville and is aware how congested the street gets during commuting times, but she added that Corporate Exchange Suites should do little, if anything, to add to the problem.
"This is a really low traffic-generator," Tangeman said.
In other business last week, NCC development committee members did vote on the only other case to come before them. Chairman Dave Paul said the panel took two votes, one 14-0 and the other 13-1 on two new signs for the Marathon station at 1570 Morse Road.
The monument signs, one off Morse Road and the other off Karl Road, replace existing pole signs. Variances were needed from the city's graphics code and commercial overlay for the signs' proximity to the road and to permit automatic changeable copy listing the price of gasoline on both signs.
Initially, according to attorney Laura M. Comek, representing Thind Petroleum Inc., Marathon corporate officials hired a sign company that failed to obtain a permit when installing the new signs, which resulted in a citation.
"This originally came to you by way of a code violation," Comek told committee members.
Once Comek was hired, she said she made the franchise owner aware of the laws and local regulations regarding signs, and he agreed to comply, with the exception of what Paul said committee members viewed as only a few minor variance requests.
"It was a pretty straightforward case, I think," Paul said. "It is not uncharacteristic of the area, which is one of the conditions of hardship.
"In this case, there are many signs and many things that are awfully close to the highway, so it isn't that they are going to take a liberty that many others in the area are taking."
Committee members voted 14-0 without conditions to grant the four variances sought for the Morse Road sign and 13-1, again without conditions, in favor of the five variances requested for the sign on Karl Road.