Upper Arlington News

Reversing course

UA city manager, attorney recommend rescinding MSC rezoning

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Upper Arlington’s city administrators have reversed course and will ask that the rezoning of the Municipal Services Center be rescinded.

Upper Arlington City Council will hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 21, to reconsider its recent rezoning of 5.36 acres at the Upper Arlington MSC.

According to a press release issued Thursday, July 17, City Manager Ted Staton and City Attorney Jeanine Hummer have decided to recommend that council rescind the rezoning.

The recommendation and scheduling of the special meeting comes after the city conducted an $8,000 telephone survey July 9-11 in which 300 homes were called about the rezoning.

ThisWeek Upper Arlington News requested the results of the survey on Wednesday, July 16.

On Thursday, July 17, a city press release stated the “full results” of the survey were not yet available, but “initial findings shared with the city indicate that there is some confusion over the rezoning and that the community appears to be divided on the issue.”

“In addition, the rezoning faces the threat of litigation that could further delay a final resolution on the matter,” the release stated.

In June, council voted 4-3 in support of the rezoning after the city received informal development plans for professional offices on an undeveloped portion of the MSC site.

Trivium Development LLC proposes to build a 36,000-square-foot medical office project, while Daimler Group Inc. and Kohr Royer Griffith Inc. have proposed a 40,000-square-foot office.

Estimates are that the Daimler project would generate approximately $160,000 to $240,000 in annual revenue for the city, while the Trivium project is estimated to generate approximately $118,000 to $166,000 per year, according to information provided by the city.

On July 9, a group of Upper Arlington residents called The Committee to Overturn MSC Rezoning turned in more than 3,000 signatures to the city in an effort to place a rezoning referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Members of the citizens group lauded city officials Thursday, July 17, for their apparent change of heart.

“It’s a difficult decision for elected officials to reverse an earlier vote, but council is making the right choice in responding to the expressed will of the people,” said Priscilla Mead, a committee member and former mayor of Upper Arlington. “It is the way democracy is supposed to work.”

In a press release of its own issued Thursday, July 17, the Committee to Overturn MSC Rezoning said opposition to the rezoning and potential development of the MSC site was not limited to just people living in the neighboring Trouville condominium community.

“What we found was that residents from all parts of the city were concerned about this issue,” said Anne Nelson, who headed the referendum petition drive. “People wanted to have their voices heard on this matter.”

Martin Cordero, treasurer of the committee, said city officials should take this opportunity to further hone policies for developing public land.

“Many people expressed concern in this case because it involved development of public land and could set a precedent for changes to other parks and green space," Cordero said. “The master plan for the city does not adequately address public land use. We’re hopeful that this current action by council will provide an opportunity to involve the entire community in addressing this issue.”

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