Worthington News

Second-story apartments

Kessler appeals council decision on development


A developer has asked the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to overturn a Worthington City Council decision regarding the two vacant lots just south of CVS.

MK&K Realty Inc. filed an appeal Oct. 5, asking the court to overturn council's Sept. 10 decision to not allow two commercial buildings on those lots unless those buildings include second-story apartments.

Council voted unanimously to deny an amendment to a development plan that would have allowed Rick Kessler, of MK&K, to build at 890 and 910 High St.

Both the city's comprehensive plan and a 2007 proposal to build three buildings in place of the former Jubilee Foods included two southern buildings that included apartments on the second floors.

CVS was built the following year on the former Jubilee site, but the two other lots remained vacant.

Last summer, Kessler presented plans to construct smaller buildings on the lot, without the second-story apartments. The apartments would be too expensive, he told council, and CVS did not want to give up the parking space that would be needed for residential use.

Original plans called for the northernmost building to be 4,936 square feet in area on the first floor, with 2,126 on the second floor for two apartments. New plans showed a 4,272-square-foot building with no usable second floor.

The southern building was approved as a 7,443-square-foot building on the first floor, with an additional 2,834 square feet of area for three apartments on the second floor. The new design showed 6,401 square feet of area, with no usable second floor.

The Municipal Planning Commission reviewed the plans and recommended approval, but council opted to not take the MPC's advice in front of a council chamber filled with residents who wanted the city to stick to its resolve and require two-story buildings.

Council members said CVS never intended to build the two buildings, only agreeing to the original plans to win council's approval to proceed with the drug store.

CVS already had fallen into bad graces with the city because the former CVS building on the northeast corner of North and High streets was never developed as a grocery store.

In several public meetings, officials said CVS would not lease the land to any business that would compete with it.

The store is being developed as an Ace Hardware.

"I've got a feeling CVS is not caring about this community, and that's a concern for me," council member Bonnie Michael said during the Sept. 10 meeting.

The case has been assigned to Judge John Bender. The next hearing is set for Jan. 4.