It is becoming a more common scenario in German Village: A large-scale development is encroaching on the largely bedroom community, with high-density projects threatening to take away parking.
And, the issues won't go away unless residents unite and help make them go away, community officials say.
The most glaring example of late is a 5-story hotel planned for 31 E. Livingston Ave., just across the border from the Brewery District.
The proposal, which has been reworked since being introduced months ago, calls for 124 units and 14 on-site parking spaces.
German Village Society officials have proposed a call to action in response to the plans.
Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the Society, said officials will pen a "strong letter" to the German Village Commission outlining community concerns and stating sections of the guidelines and city code that correspond to those concerns. The Society Board of Trustees will write one letter related to the hotel project and one letter related to an apartment project proposed for 247-281 E. Livingston.
Community members are encouraged to coordinate presentations as they relate to each project at the German Village Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7. The development proposals are likely to be on the agenda.
Society officials said they further hope to engage the organization's Civic Relations Committee in two primary ways -- work their networks using the board's letter to get the German Village talking points to decision-makers and create a template for the Society to follow when such project proposals arise, including measures such as communication, advocacy, community meetings and direct contact with officials, Todorov said.
Society leadership addressed the issue of commercial development July 24 at a gathering in the German Village Meeting Haus. An estimated 200 people packed Fest Hall to ask questions and complain about the projects, none of which has passed the city's planning stages.
The meeting mostly served as a sounding board for disgruntled residents but also as an informational session on just who is exactly responsible for approval of such developments.
The big takeaway included identifying that the German Village Commission -- the architectural-review board for the neighborhood -- is responsible for issuing certificates of appropriateness for all exterior enhancements, from doorknobs to additions, and it offers recommendations about proposals.
The city of Columbus and its various boards often have the final approval of variance and zoning matters.
The Society, meanwhile, generally stays on the sidelines of controversial issues but has slowly gotten more involved.
"Because of interest from neighbors, the society will explore the appropriate role of an attorney in these processes," Todorov said.
Also, the society leadership wants to "ask the developers, and back it with city input, to provide traffic and/or parking studies related to their variance requests," she said.
Most of the people who spoke at the July 24 meeting were adamantly opposed to the hotel, to be owned by Luxe Hotels and represented by Jonathan Barnes of Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design.
But David Taylor, who spoke after the meeting, had a different take.
"I'm not against it," Taylor said. "I'm not against progress."
The alternative could be a future vacant lot, he said.
"I think we are overbuilding apartments in our city," Taylor said. "I'm more worried about our infrastructure than parking."