Northland News

NCC development committee

Panel OKs rezoning for apartments, not church


Most Strawberry Farms residents appear resigned to having an apartment complex go up where they expected a church to be built, the chairman of the Northland Community Council development committee said last week.

"They actually are pretty content with this application," Dave Paul said after the panel voted 14-2 to recommend approval for the rezoning request from the Forest Edge Assembly of God, 5400 Strawberry Farms Blvd.

According to Paul, the applicant is the church, which is seeking the rezoning so it can sell the property. The development plan drawings were prepared by Faris Planning and Design, although that company is not the developer, he said.

Paul said no developer has been identified, but whoever takes on the project will be bound by the limitation text and plans that accompany the rezoning.

Some people who live in the subdivision attended the committee's monthly meeting, but no serious objections were raised to having a residential designation on the 10.5-acre site. Paul said the rezoning means a total of 204 units can be constructed in buildings of two and three stories.

It probably helped, Paul added, that the developer, after a series of meetings with Strawberry Farms Civic Association members, scaled back original plans that called for some commercial development on the property.

"They appear to have given a lot of thought to this," Paul said. "We were kind of impressed with that."

The lone condition on the vote to recommend approval involves having a 50-foot-wide tree buffer on the north side of the site along state Route 161 put into writing, he indicated.

The greatest amount of discussion during the hearing centered not only on the project itself but the developer's desires regarding required sidewalk construction, according to Paul. City regulations call for the sidewalk to be built along the property line at Strawberry Farms Boulevard and Forest Edge Drive, but Paul said the apartment developer would like to move the sidewalk to the south.

"They really don't think, and I happen to agree, that folks should be walking north from this site crossing the expressway to get to the Blendon area to the north," Paul said. "There is no crosswalk there. This is really with the guidance, I think, of some folks in the community. They really can't see putting a sidewalk where people shouldn't go."

Committee members heard two other cases last week, only one of which resulted in a vote.

That was unanimous support for a graphics variance to permit an electronic sign showing the price of gasoline at a BP Station on Morse Road near North Fourth Street, Paul said.

The Morse Road commercial overlay does not permit signs with changeable copy, but requests for ones that can be changed from inside the building have become routine for convenience stores in the area.

The case that was tabled involved a request to rezone a 0.392-acre site at 2255 E. Dublin-Granville Road to add a drive-through at an existing Dunkin' Donuts.

Committee member William Logan noted in the application from ms consultants inc. that there is an area at the southwest corner of the property that only allows cars a turning radius of five feet.

"That's not adequate to turn most modern vehicles," Paul said. "You can't keep your car in the lane at that dimension. That was pointed out to them."

Also, committee members asked the franchise owner's representative to see about entering into an agreement with adjoining property owners to allow employee parking there, since the drive-through eliminates some of the store's existing spaces, Paul said.

The request should be on the development committee's agenda for the next meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd.