National Church Residences officials are taking a mulligan on their effort to locate a supportive housing facility in the Northland area.
After receiving the unanimous endorsement of the Northland Community Council development committee for the 62-unit Commons at 161 last September, executives with the Northwest Side-based nonprofit organization had to regroup and find a new location, according to Amy Rosenthal, senior project leader.
A request for low-income housing tax credits was rejected by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency because a vacant former restaurant is located near the proposed site for the apartment complex, she said.
Rosenthal has been making the rounds of local civic associations to drum up support for the newest iteration of the Commons at 161 -- 60 one-bedroom units at 5771 Maple Canyon Ave.
The total development cost for the two-story structure is more than $10 million, according to a fact sheet Rosenthal provided at a meeting last week of the Forest Park Civic Association.
The new site needs to be rezoned because the proposed project would have a higher density than is currently allowed in that location, she said. The rezoning request was scheduled to come before the NCC development committee this week.
The apartments would be for people with disabilities and formerly homeless individuals.
That raised some questions and concerns among several in attendance at the civic association's monthly gathering.
Some asked about the crime rate and number of emergency calls at other supportive housing projects operated by National Church Residences, most of them in downtown Columbus. Catherine Gilbert pointed out that the neighborhood's liaison officers have worked hard to get criminals to move out of motels in the area.
"We don't want to see them moving into your place," she said.
"Everyone's screened to make sure they are appropriate to live in this setting," Rosenthal said. "We have pretty intensive security."
The same questions were raised earlier in the month when Rosenthal gave a presentation about the project to the Sharon Woods Civic Association, according to association president John Kirkpatrick.
"I think there were some concerns because for about five years, our Block Watch people worked with the police to get 161 cleaned up, with prostitution and drugs and things like that going on," he said last week. "She answered all our questions and said they work with the police."
Dave Paul, chairman of the NCC development committee, said National Church Residences is seeking a rezoning for the Maple Canyon Avenue site to a category that allows 17 units an acre, compared with the current 12 units an acre. In addition, he indicated, the organization wants to have one parking spot for each of the units, instead of the one and a half required by city code.