Upper Arlington officials could have another fight on their hands after approving a rezoning to allow a restaurant and the city’s second hotel on West Lane Avenue.
Moments after Upper Arlington City Council voted 5-2 on July 5 to rezone five properties on Westmont Boulevard to allow Shanghai Enterprises to build a parking garage and surface parking for a J. Liu restaurant and a Home2 Suites by Hilton at 1640 W. Lane Ave, a group of residents said they intend to fight it on the November 2018 ballot.
Those opposed included many living on Westmont and streets near the proposed development. They convened in the lobby of the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center with attorney James Becker immediately after the rezoning vote and said they intend to begin collecting signatures for a November 2018 referendum to overturn the rezoning vote.
“If the city was more willing to work with us, we wouldn’t need to use somebody like Jim,” said Scott Hicks, a Westmont resident. “We wish it didn’t come to this, but as you just saw, they don’t care.”
Under state law, those seeking a referendum have 30 days from the date of an ordinance’s passage to collect a required number of signatures for a referendum. Moreover, they have to gather enough signatures to equal 10 percent of the number of residents who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election.
For this referendum, the equivalent would be about 1,500 signatures.
The filing deadline for the November 2017 ballot is Aug. 9, but the referendum group expects the entire 30 days would be needed to gather the required number of signatures. Once they collect the signatures, they still have to be submitted to the city's finance division, where they would be available for public review for at least 10 days before they are sent to the Franklin County Board of Elections.
That isn't enough time to make the Aug. 9 filing deadline for the 2017 fall ballot.
More than 100 people attended the special council meeting.
After roughly two hours of comment from city planners who endorsed the proposed project, representatives of the developer, residents and city officials, City Council approved rezoning the proposed site from residential uses to a "planned mixed-use district."
Shanghai’s plans to build a two-story parking garage and surface parking, in addition to a 7,600-square-foot J. Liu restaurant and a 90,864-square-foot, 118-room Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel at the northeast corner of West Lane Avenue and Westmont.
If the project moves forward, it would yield Upper Arlington’s second hotel.
The first hotel was a 109-room Homewood Suites by Hilton that opened in August 2013 at 1576 W. Lane, just east of the proposed Home2 Suites site.
However, if opponents are successful in collecting approximately 1,500 signatures from valid Upper Arlington voters within 30 days, the project couldn’t move unless the referendum is defeated in the November 2018 election.
Read the July 13 edition of ThisWeek Upper Arlington News for the full story.