Northwest News

NWCA more in favor, than opposed to, development

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The Northwest Civic Association is not all about the N and the O.

Urging rejection of development proposals is the easy way out, and not the one most often preferred by the association's board of trustees, President John Ehlers said during last week's annual meeting.

It was a celebration of the organization's 48th year of existence.

Trustees work hard on rezoning applications that come before them to get the developer to agree to concessions that make the project more acceptable to residents, Ehlers said.

He gave most of the credit for that to Rosemarie Lisko, chairwoman of the graphics and zoning committee.

"For the most part, we are very much in agreement," he said. "When we say 'no,' we say it as loud as we can."

The board president demonstrated that the positions taken on rezoning requests and variances during the past year have for the most part been in the affirmative, including votes of 8-0 to permit a restaurant with drive-thru window in a former car wash on Kenny Road, 7-0 to allow a guest house on Olentangy River Road and 10-0 to approve signs for an apartment complex at the intersection of West Henderson and Kenny Roads.

There was one glaring exception, and that was also the leading item under "upcoming business."

In January, the vote was also unanimous, but that time in opposition to a rezoning request that would permit a 152-unit apartment complex on an 11.1-acre site at 5450 Riverside Drive.

The project is vehemently opposed by residents of nearby condominiums, the majority of them retirees.

Many of the more ardent opponents were on hand at the annual session, and Ehlers pledged the top item on the association's agenda for the year to come would be to "support the residents' interest during (the) City Council vote on the 5450 Riverside Drive project."

The city's Development Commission went against the NWCA recommendation, favoring the Casto Development proposal by a vote of 4-1.

"It's still not over," Ehlers said.

The rezoning is tentatively scheduled to come before City Council the third week in May, according to Lisko.

The association's membership increased quite a bit as condo residents near the Riverside Drive property, most of whom said they were promised only other owner-occupied projects would be built near them, signed up.

"We don't want to be an organization that only attracts people when there's a problem, but that's historically been the case," Ehlers commented.

Also on tap for the coming year would be:

* Working with Perry Township, Columbus, Worthington, Franklin County, ODOT and MORPC officials to make improvements to traffic-choked West Dublin-Granville Road.

* Working with Ohio State University and city leaders on the future of Don Scott Airport;

* Seeking to participate in this year's Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund program; consider extending the NWCA service area to the Hayden Run area west of Scioto River.

* And finally, after seven years of lobbying, stroll on new sidewalk to be installed along Godown Road by Centennial High School.

It promises to be a busy year, Ehlers said.

"We don't know what's going to be coming down the pike in zoning issues, graphics issues," he added.

 

Officers announced

Agreeing to stay on as trustees for the association, in addition to Ehlers, were Vice President Greg Marietti, Treasurer Mark Krietemeyer, Secretary Kyle Hartman and Dave Shaw, chairman of the code enforcement committee.

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