One of the priorities to emerge from an all-day city council retreat held Feb. 19 is how to manage Upper Arlington's housing market in a way that meets the needs of residents but also allows property to redevelop in ways that will keep the community vibrant.

One of the priorities to emerge from an all-day city council retreat held Feb. 19 is how to manage Upper Arlington's housing market in a way that meets the needs of residents but also allows property to redevelop in ways that will keep the community vibrant.

"This is a personal belief that I've held for 15 years," said council member Mary Ann Krauss, "but I feel we need alternative housing in this community. We need other kinds of housing than the traditional four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house."

One of the difficulties, Krauss said, is that as people go through the natural developmental phases of their lives, they may want to change housing, but cannot do so because otherwise desirable options simply don't exist in the market.

"We need housing that meets a lot of different needs and we have a lot of people who are house rich and cash poor," Krauss said. "People, when they think there's no place for them to go, they choose to stay in their existing houses."

This makes it difficult for the city and developers to redevelop in ways that attract a broad mix of residents, she said.

"Some of it might be zoning or other policies we can do to help assemble land (for development)," she said.

Council member Erik Yassenoff also identified housing as an issue.

"We talked at length about senior housing. Senior housing is a critical issue," he said. "We want to keep seniors but also attract young professionals and young families through appropriately priced housing in the community.

"Those nice units at Arlington Crossing, the big five story building on Tremont next to Kingsdale -- the target group for that building was seniors, young professionals and young families," he said. "The problem was, the smallest unit, essentially a bedroom and a living room, started at $380,000. That's out of the price range for me even now, much less someone just out of college or just married or someone in their 70s or 80s .

"We need to find a way to encourage or incentivize more housing that is below $250,000, below $200,000, but within Upper Arlington."

Council president Frank Ciotola said the retreat meeting was effective in setting priorities.

"I thought it was very productive, at least as productive as could be for what was about an eight-hour meeting," he said. "We focused on setting priorities and setting the framework for addressing those priorities."

Ciotola said that one possibility is that council will increase the use of ad hoc or standing committees to address major issues, such as economic development and the master plan, to complement the customary committee of the whole meetings held during council work sessions.

Possibilities include increasing coordination between the community investment corporation and the city, perhaps by joint meetings, he said. Tight budgets were also a high priority for the near and midterm, with a focus on infrastructure.

"Government has to stick to its basic services," Ciotola said. "The further government expands beyond that, the less revenue is available for things like infrastructure, the basic things that government is there for."