Some residents in the Eastmoor neighborhood say they would welcome a new apartment complex that Plaza Properties proposes to build at 2377 E. Broad St., while others are concerned the development would not be compatible with existing buildings and might exacerbate traffic congestion and create safety issues in the area.

About 100 residents attended a Jan. 24 meeting with developer Larry Ruben, president of Plaza Properties, and attorney Jackson Reynolds, held at the Bexley Public Library and organized by the Eastmoor Civic Association and Blockwatch.

Ruben said current plans for the proposed apartment development call for three buildings with 18 units each, with one-bedroom apartments of 858 square feet each on the second floor and townhouses of 1,232 square feet each on the first floor. The development would have 82 parking spaces, Reynolds said.

Ruben and Reynolds have submitted an application for five variances related to the development to the city of Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment.

They are:

* To reduce the required building setback along East Broad Street from 60 to 25 feet and along Broadleigh and Chesterfield roads from 25 to 9 feet.

* To reduce the required lot area from 2,500 to 1,050 square feet per dwelling unit; to reduce the lot area requirement by 1,450 square feet.

* To increase the allowable height of a structure from 35 to 45 feet.

* To reduce the required parking setback from 25 to 15 feet.

* To reduce the required 4-foot landscaping setback area to 0 feet along the south property line abutting the alley.

ECA&B representatives submitted a letter of opposition and a petition that they say has been signed by more than 300 area residents opposing the development's current form, including the variances.

"I don't think anybody is opposed to a development here that's residential because it's better than a block store," John Hamlin, ECA&B president, told Ruben during the meeting. "What we would like to do is work with you. We ask that you work with us to make this project a success and not have it be a thorn in our side or your side."

Ruben noted that Plaza Properties, located at 3016 Maryland Ave., and his family have long-standing ties to the Eastmoor and Bexley areas. Not only does the company own and operate several properties in the area, including the shopping center across from the proposed apartment building, but he has lived in the area for many years, Ruben said.

"Why would we want to develop something on Broad Street that would not be amenable to the neighborhood?" Ruben said.

Ruben said he would consider the ECA&B's request to reduce the number of dwelling units in the development.

As of Jan. 27, Plaza Properties' application was still listed on the agenda for the Columbus BZA's Jan. 31 meeting, but Hamlin said the ECA&B met with Ruben Jan. 26 and he agreed to postpone the application to the BZA's Feb. 28 meeting.

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