Northland News

Revised Northland Plan

Public response favors less mixed-use density


As a result of public comment received so far, the extent and density of mixed-use development within the traditional Northland area will probably shrink from what was initially proposed by city officials.

The latest update to the document intended to guide infill development of the neighborhood primarily within Interstate 270 was offered at last week's Northland Community Council meeting by Christine Palmer of the city's planning department.

Palmer, lead project manager for updating the plan that was last revised in 2001, said online survey responses, a Nov. 15 public workshop and a Dec. 5 meeting with members of the NCC's development committee are helping shape the latest changes. The process began last July.

So far, Palmer told NCC members, the amount of what's termed "community mixed-use designation" along the East Dublin-Granville and Morse road corridors has been reduced and residential density in the remaining acreage cut in half, based on comments received by planners.

In essence, she indicated, citizens are concerned that "traditional" Northland already has too much multifamily development and not enough commercial property, hence the reduction in density from a proposed top figure of 45 units an acre to 22 units an acre in what remains of community mixed-use locales.

Community mixed-use includes multifamily, office, retail and institutional, which encompasses schools and government agencies.

Initially, the update to the existing Northland I plan called for community mixed-use on East Dublin-Granville Road between Sinclair Road and Interstate 71 and again from Sharon Woods to Forest Hills boulevards, with the residential densities ranging from 16 to 45 units an acre.

Revisions based on public input will shrink the designation on state Route 161 to the area between Spring Run Drive and Forest Hills Boulevard, with density of residential from 16 to 22 units an acre. The revisions also call for an employment center, which can include technology development, along Sinclair Road just north of Morse Road, according to documents Palmer passed out at the NCC's monthly meeting.

Likewise, community mixed-use along Morse Road was suggested for the area between Karl Road and Alum Creek, with apartments developed at 16 to 45 units an acre. That's going to be reduced, based on community suggestions, to the area between Karl Road and Walford Street, with density topping out at 22 units an acre.

"We can't predict everything," Palmer said, but noted that the revised plan would help determine what residents believe is the best use when property comes up for redevelopment within the already mostly developed Northland area bound by I-270 on the north and east, Cooke, Ferris and Morse roads on the south, and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and Huntley Road on the west.

"The area covers approximately 11,327 acres or 17.7 square miles," according to a Facebook page dedicated to the update project.

When some NCC representatives asked Palmer how the revised plan might help bring redevelopment to the area, she said it was more of a "passive document," and that other city departments are involved in trying to recruit developers to existing neighborhoods.

NCC President Emmanuel V. Remy said it is up to residents and leaders to help promote development in the area.