Northwest News

NWCA vote on apartment proposal delayed


The third time held no charm last week for zoning attorney Connie Klema in her attempt to win over the members of the Northwest Civic Association board for a client who wants to build apartments on West Dublin-Granville Road.

In the end, after some members of the panel held out the faint hope that a snazzy site plan showing what the buildings would look like and where they would be placed on the approximately 20-acre parcel on the south side of the road across from the Village Bookshop might somehow overrule serious concerns about traffic congestion, Klema asked permission to step into the hallway to try to reach her client, Vision Development of Upper Arlington.

When she returned a few minutes later, Klema asked that no vote be taken.

The 325-unit proposed apartment complex is scheduled to come up for a fourth time at the next NWCA session, at 7 p.m. Jan. 2, in the Meadow Park Church of God, 2425 Bethel Road.

As on her first two appearances, an informal presentation Dec. 5 and a return engagement Nov. 7 accompanied by a traffic engineer, Klema was met with skepticism from board members and people living near the West Dublin-Granville Road site regarding the added congestion woes the development might cause.

"It is my professional view that this is going to have an extreme adverse impact on traffic on (state Route) 161," said Tom Francis, president of the Brookside Estates Civic Association.

"That doesn't seem like the right development for the area," said Brookside Estates resident Janna Bender. "It makes no sense at all."

"I would not purchase your apartment, simply because I could not get in and out of my home," said Marty Callihan.

"We're not saying traffic isn't bad," Klema said. "Development of property will occur."

"The road can't handle it, and that's going to be the message we get to our government leaders," resident Tom Kasberg said.

Klema explained Vision Development was hoping to have a very detailed site plan, one costing "tens of thousands of dollars" and showing a high-quality project, but only approval was obtained to rezone the site for multifamily.

She did say the project would include a mix of units, some containing three apartments and others possibly as many as 23.

"I don't know how many buildings," she said in reply to questioning from board member Rosemarie Lisko of the graphics and zoning committee.

"Every development we've had since I've been on the board, we've had a full site plan," board member Jeanne Ashby said.

The development would have two entrances, one a full one and the other a right-in, right-out only, both off state Route 161, according to Klema.

Klema repeated what Gerald L. "Garry" Wilcox of the Lewis Center consulting firm Traffic Engineering Services said at the Nov. 7 meeting: existing zoning for the property, which would allow for 109,000 square feet of shopping center, 36,000 square feet of office space, 4,000 square feet for a fast-food restaurant with drive-thru and over five acres of light industrial, would be way, way worse than the proposed apartment complex in terms of the amount of vehicles going in and out off West Dublin Granville Road.

Current zoning would generate 10,000 vehicle trips daily in and out of the site, compared with 2,000 for the apartment development, the attorney told board members last week.

"That's quite a difference," Klema said. "We are asking for a down-zoning of this property."