Developer Ron Sabatino on May 21 told Delaware City Council he "really needed" 180 units in his planned apartment complex on Houk Road.

He didn't get 180 units but came close when council amended and approved two proposed ordinances, allowing him to build the Flats on Houk complex with 168 units.

Sabatino's company, MedRock LLC, will build the complex in an area earlier designated as planned urban development by the city's zoning code.

As written, the designation would have limited the complex to 140 units.

Sabatino and his associates have argued Flats on Houk will be a luxury apartment complex and requires enough units to provide funding to maintain amenities.

At the May 21 meeting, MedRock brought charts on posterboard identifying the amenities.

Those include a dog park, a dog-wash station, an outdoor pool, a community garden, an outdoor gathering space and fireplace, an electric-car charging station, lockers for package delivery and bocce-ball courts.

Sabatino brought to the meeting Rob Vogt of Vogt Strategic Insights, Columbus.

Vogt said a recent survey by his company shows demand for multifamily units exceeds supply in Delaware.

Sabatino said the luxury apartment complex will appeal to those who cannot afford houses.

As at previous meetings of council and the city's planning commission, the May 21 session was attended by a number of residents who opposed MedRock's plans.

Throughout the various meetings, most criticism targeted the density 180 units would create.

Since early April, MedRock modified the complex plan to add mounding and trees to screen the complex from the view of nearby houses.

As residents' objections continued May 21, they focused in part on what was called the complex's adverse effects on existing houses closest to the project.

One resident who made that point was Deb Logan, who lives on nearby Diverston Lane.

While she and her neighbors in Adalee Park are not permitted fences because of deed restrictions, she said, the complex's largest block of buildings will loom over her property 110 feet away.

The project "will negatively impact my investment and quality of life," she said.

Two breaks were taken during the meeting. The first was requested by Sabatino to allow him to talk to residents.

About 20 minutes later, City Attorney Darren Shulman told council that following its last meeting, when a compromise was suggested, he and Planning Director Dave Efland worked on "some language you could consider ... if you want to look at it," regarding apartment-complex elements closest to existing houses.

Efland said that "language" would remove eight units each from buildings 7 and 8 in the MedRock plans.

A few minutes earlier, Sabatino had told council, "We really need 180 (units). We want what we want. You guys are going to do what you're going to do."

Following the second break, council modified the ordinances to remove eight units from building 7 and four from building 8, then passed both measures.

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