Worthington News

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Worthington Architectural Review Board approves amendments to plans court rejected

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

According to an April 11 ruling in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, two buildings proposed for the empty lots south of CVS may not be built as planned.

If that decision is overturned, however, the developer will be ready.

On June 13, the Worthington Architectural Review Board (ARB) voted 5-0 in favor of amendments to the plans it approved in July 2012. The problem is, neither the original ARB approval nor the amendment could mean anything unless the court's ruling is overturned.

ARB chairman Richard Hunter and other board members said they were confused about why the applicant wanted to pursue finalizing the landscaping plans but agreed to make the changes proposed by MK&K Realty, which wants to erect the two buildings.

The changes to the architectural plan are relatively minor but fulfill the 2012 ARB request that the applicant provide additional information about landscaping prior to moving forward.

Last month, the ARB refused to consider the same amendment request on the advice of city law director Pam Fox. Board members said they had been advised it was not proper for them to consider a case when it was involved in litigation.

Fox attended the June 13 meeting, leaving quickly as soon as the amendment was approved.

She was there to make sure everything went smoothly and that it was made clear to the developers that an approval of the amendment to the architectural review plan did not mean construction could begin, said Scott Myers, Worthington City Council's representative on the ARB.

"This is not permission to proceed," Myers told the applicant during the meeting.

The confusing story began in 2007, when the city granted development plans for CVS to be built on the southeast corner of High and North streets. The plans included the two lots immediately south. Two-story commercial/residential buildings were to be constructed on each lot, according to the plans.

The first floors were to be commercial, with the second floors as apartments.

The CVS was built, but the two smaller buildings weren't. Those lots remain vacant.

Last year, MK&K approached the city with plans to build on the two lots, but the plans showed two single-story buildings, not the two-story ones the city had approved.

In July, the ARB approved plans, with the contingency that the developer return with further landscaping details, and MPC recommended that council approve an amendment to the final development plan.

Council did not take the advice of the Planning Commission. Instead, council voted to not permit MK&K to proceed with plans to build the one-story buildings.

The developer appealed that decision to the courts, resulting in the decision by Judge Alan Travis that council acted properly. He overturned the appeal.

MK&K since has appealed Travis' ruling. A decision on that appeal is pending.

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