The effort to block a large-scale apartment development along an oft-congested stretch of West Dublin-Granville Road isn't over yet, Rosemarie Lisko of the Northwest Civic Association warned last week.
Although buoyed by the Columbus Development Commission's 3-2 ruling against rezoning 20 acres in the 2300 block of state Route 161 directly across from the Village Bookshop to permit a 320-plus unit apartment project, Lisko, the NWCA Zoning Committee chairwoman, cautioned the final decision rests with City Council.
"I was very pleased that it was voted down," Lisko said the day after the Development Commission meeting.
"I would like to see it unanimous, but that almost never happens when it's a controversial issue.
"The battle's just starting now because we have to convince City Council that development shouldn't go ahead until the road is taken care of."
John Ehlers, president of the Northwest Civic Association, echoed those sentiments.
"Two of the commissioners who voted to support the project expressed two sides of their dilemma," Ehlers said.
"One was the emotional aspect that went against the project and then the other was a support of the down-zoning," he said.
"My gut feeling is that the extra burden that such a development would put on the local residents warrants more than just an emotional appeal," Ehlers said.
"The next phase, presenting to City Council, will again bring this dilemma of the emotional versus the practical to a head.
"I urge the local residents to contact their City Council members and explain why this is such an important issue to them."
After hearing from Vision Development attorney Connie Klema on numerous occasions regarding the apartments on property currently zoned for a shopping center and offices, NWCA board members voted unanimously to recommend against approval at their March 6 meeting. They cited concerns from residents a section of West Dublin-Granville Road that already sees frequent backups would only get worse.
Development Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick focused on the traffic woes in casting his vote against the proposal.
"Properties like this are being held hostage," Fitzpatrick was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch as telling Klema. "You've done everything right. It's not your fault the road was abandoned," Fitzpatrick said.
The rezoning request for the apartment project is expected to be considered by City Council sometime in May.