Upper Arlington city officials say they intend to bring forth legislation soon that would protect the green space outside the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road, from future development.
According to city officials, at least twice in the past 20 years, the 5.36-acre space at the northern edge of the MSC known as "The Point" has been eyed as a site for commercial development.
The most recent bid was in the summer of 2014, when Upper Arlington City Council rezoned the site to allow for the construction of professional offices.
Council rescinded the move a month later because of opposition from residents who had collected more than 3,000 signatures on petitions, seeking a ballot issue to overturn the rezoning.
Now, Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley says the city manager's office plans to bring legislation to council that would state the city's intent to preserve the site as it is today -- a green space dotted with trees, including "numerous" commemorative trees Upper Arlington Parks and Forestry Superintendent Steve Cothrel said were planted to honor local residents.
Ralley said the legislation would recognize "how (The Point) is used" as well as "the controversy and divisiveness" of discussions to develop it commercially.
"Our intent will be to bring forward legislation to really mark the designation of that," he said.
Although The Point currently isn't zoned to permit commercial development, City Attorney Jeanine Hummer said the measure to be presented by the cty manager's office would further emphasize that City Council would need to approve a zoning change in order for anything to be built there.
"Council intends to indicate they are committed to not change the zoning," Hummer said.
Council Vice President Brendan King said the move would give residents, particularly those in the neighboring Trouville condominium community, further assurances that The Point will remain in its current state.
"Some of the neighbors ... particularly in Trouville, want to rest easy, knowing this is going to be what it is forever," King said.
It's unclear when the legislation will reach Upper Arlington City Council, but it's expected to be in the near future. The majority of council members expressed support for the move during a Sept. 17 conference session.
Cothrel said he doesn't have an inventory of the trees currently located in The Point, but noted a number of them are special to residents because they were planted in honor of friends or family; some recognize elected officials and city staff members, he said.
"That greenspace is also an integral part of the MSC campus," Cothrel said. "It has been used for various things over the years and offers a verdant vista from both outside and inside the building."