A public hearing scheduled for June 26 to decide whether to grant a use variance in an R-2 zoning district regarding a residential property at 81 N. Drexel Ave. in Bexley has been canceled.

The request was to allow the residential structure to be converted to a senior assisted-living facility.

Bexley Councilman Tim Madison, chairman of council's Zoning and Judiciary Committee, said applicant and prospective buyer Benjamin Babeaux, a prospective buyer and co-applicant on the variance request with Holly Fahey, earlier this month asked the city to withdraw the request that was filed with the city April 12.

Madison said the variance request required council to hold three readings, including a "quasi-judicial" public hearing in which council would hear testimony from the applicants, adjacent property owners and anyone with legal standing who would be affected by the variance.

Council held the first reading on May 8 and the second reading on May 22. The third reading and public hearing was to take place June 26.

The variance application included a signed document from Cherie Hinson, owner of the 81 N. Drexel Ave. property, granting permission for Babeaux and Fahey to file the variance request.

Babeaux said that although he is no longer in contract to purchase the 81 N. Drexel Ave. property, he plans to continue pursuing options for bringing an assisted-living facility to the city to help older Bexley residents remain in the community.

"We had to withdrawal the variance application due to the contract being terminated, since the process was taking longer than expected," Babeaux said in an email. "We are still fully committed to establishing senior residences."

In describing the concept for the assisted-living facility in his remarks at council's May 22 meeting, Babeaux said the facility would be designed to accommodate a maximum of 16 residents.

He said he and Fahey planned to make minimal changes, other than installing an elevator, and would have preserved the residence's historic features.

Known as the Huntington House, the residence was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, according to an article in The Columbus Dispatch from June 2016. It was built in 1926 by Franz Huntington, president of Huntington Bank. With 10,000 square feet, the house contained nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two kitchens, three stairways, two libraries and a great room rising 28 feet from floor to cathedral ceiling, according to the article.

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