Apartments might become a thing of the past in Canal Winchester after council members requested Monday night that staff members change the zoning code.

Apartments might become a thing of the past in Canal Winchester after council members requested Monday night that staff members change the zoning code.

Over the past few months, council members and residents have expressed their concern about the possibility of more apartments being built in the Canal Winchester area. Most recently, resident Mike Berkemeier threatened to move out of the village if more apartments were built.

"I'm a police officer in a community with four apartment complexes (MacArthur in Vinton County)," Berkemeier said at a village planning and zoning commission meeting Nov. 10. "Seventy to 80 percent of my calls are to those apartment complexes."

Planning and zoning officials unanimously turned down a request by Rockford Homes to build a 112-unit apartment complex on Groveport Road, adjacent to the Villages at Westchester subdivision.

"It seems like nobody in our town wants apartments," Councilman John Bender said Monday night.

Development director Chris Strayer said Canal Winchester's current zoning code allows apartments to be built in multi-family residential districts (AR-1), which includes apartments and condominiums.

"We need to define 'apartments,' and then we need to define 'condominiums,'" Strayer said.

Once the two are defined in the code, apartments could become a type of development no longer allowed in Canal Winchester, he added.

Strayer said there is one property in the downtown area zoned AR-1, but there is no building on the parcel. If the AR-1 designation changed, the property could be changed easily, eliminating the possibility of buildings in the village that don't conform to the zoning code.

Councilman Bruce Jarvis suggested splitting AR-1 into two parts.

Strayer said Jarvis' idea might work and will have more information for council members possibly next month.

"Right now, what we're talking about is an imbalance for apartments in Canal Winchester," Jarvis said. "It's a way of trying to up the quality of development."

He said there is a "profusion, an explosion" of apartments in the area around the village. Changing the zoning code in Canal Winchester would merely "strike a balance in development" for the area, he said.

Councilwoman Leah Turner said there are many apartment complexes on the north side of U.S. 33 in Columbus.

"(Apartments) are not wanted, period," Turner said. "I think it's time we take a stand: We do not want apartments."

"Let's do it," Bender said.

In other business Monday, law director Gene Hollins responded to objections he said he has heard has heard from officials in the U.S. 33 area concerning a joint economic development district (JEDD) proposal among the village, Violet Township and the cities of Pickerington and Lancaster.

"If this JEDD is going to be successful, it's going to be successful because the county is the provider (of utilities)," Hollins said.

Also, he said some opponents of the JEDD claim the proposed 2-percent income tax for the district will deter development.

"If that were true, we'd have no development at Canal Pointe," Hollins added.

He reiterated that the agreement, if approved, would not create a JEDD. In order for that to happen, he said a landowner in the proposed district would have to file a petition requesting one. The agreement now under consideration merely gives officials the authority in the future to use a JEDD.

Canal Winchester and Pickerington councils will hold a public hearing about the JEDD at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Pickerington City Hall, 100 Lockville Road.