Upper Arlington officials are closing in on how to develop a one-square-mile stretch on the city's west side and are inviting public input at a Nov. 16 meeting.
Upper Arlington City Council gave the green light Sept. 25 to spend up to $49,000 for PlanningNext to study how to develop River Ridge Ridge/Kingsdale West, an area bounded on the north by Fishinger Road, to the south by Zollinger Road, to the east by Tremont Road and to the west by Sunset Drive.
The results of the study are expected to be released in February. City officials and the consulting firm are expecting to provide their respective views as to how best to build out the area.
Information also will be dispersed and public input will be collected at two public meetings. The first, dubbed a "neighborhood character workshop" is slated for 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Wickliffe Elementary School, 2506 Wickliffe Road.
The second, being called a "neighborhood choices workshop," will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, also at Wickliffe.
"The (Nov. 16) meeting will be highly interactive with opportunities to work in small groups to share ideas about strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in the area," City Manager Ted Staton said. "(The Dec. 6) workshop will focus on a discussion of alternative approaches to shaping the future character of the area."
According to Upper Arlington Senior Planning Officer Chad Gibson, the city is analyzing River Ridge/Kingsdale West because Franklin County is expected to experience continued population growth over the next 50 years.
"River Ridge and Kingsdale West contain some of the city's most affordable housing relative to other areas, as well as other qualities (that) make it attractive to a range of people," Gibson said.
The site to be studied includes the residential subdivisions River Ridge, Sciotangy Heights, North Mountview Addition, Millwood Addition, Wickliffe Woods, East Cleft on the Scioto and Tremont Place.
Currently, Gibson said, River Ridge contains a range of single-family houses built in the 1950s, along with multifamily housing.
However, he said the city expects to "feel a pressure for new development that could impact it significantly."
"The study is about recognizing the potential for change and asking community members if and how that change should be managed," Gibson said. "The study will explore first what qualities and characteristics the community might want to see.
"Once the city has a sense of that, we'll be looking at what, if any, policies might advance that vision in order to proactively plan for the future."
Just how much land is available to be developed in the area is a question that will be worked out through the study, Gibson said.
He acknowledged it's "pretty well built-out in some areas to the smaller lot sizes," but added some lots are larger and there is interest in additional development.
"We have no foregone conclusions going into this process about how much new development should take place," he said.
Gibson said River Ridge is zoned for residential uses "and the city has no plans to rezone it."
Kingsdale West is zoned for planned, mixed-use development, which allows for a broad range of uses.
Any recommendations to change zoning in the area would require City Council approval.
How the city moves forward with the study results "will be largely determined by what our technical analysis reveals about opportunities in the neighborhood and what we hear from the community," Gibson said.
"The study could be the basis for incentives or policies to direct growth and change, but we will need to first analyze the existing conditions and trends and determine the collective vision for the area."