A proposed rezoning to permit 163 single-family homes on 55 acres at 6450 Ulry Road won the unanimous blessing Dec. 6 of the members of the Northland Community Council development committee.

It wasn't just that the project, pitched by attorney Laura M. Comek on behalf of property owner Ciminello's Inc., was for single-family units in an area where multiple multifamily projects have been proposed, although that helped, committee Vice Chairman William Logan said.

"The most favorable thing out of that was the general understanding that because of the complexity of the site, the delicate nature of a development within an existing neighborhood, that the developer saw fit to have a number of meetings with the residents prior to coming to us or even the city so they had their ducks in a row and minimized the typical problems that developers typically have," Logan said. "That helped the committee in their decision-making."

According to a report from committee Chairman Dave Paul, the vote was 16-0 to recommend approval of the rezoning, on three conditions.

One is that a 52-foot no-build zone conservation area be established on the west side of the site. The other two relate to lot depth and minimum side yards, which Logan said were the result of complications with the site.

"Those (conditions) were the result of discussions ongoing with the neighborhood groups and the nearby neighbors," Comek said. "I would say it's always been my practice to reach out and understand those kinds of things. To me, that's the best practice. We make every effort to do it."

The rezoning is pending annexation of the property to the city of Columbus.

Committee members were pleasantly surprised to be considering a project of single-family homes rather than another proposal for apartments, Logan said.

"That was the best positive with the development," he said. "All it does is bolster the point the development committee has made that single-family homes are extremely viable, despite the perception that apartments are the way developers want to go."

"The project was very well received, at least in part because of that communication," Comek said.

Not so well received was another rezoning application for slightly more than 5 acres at 5049 Sunbury Road that's currently zoned rural.

The request from Homeport, represented by Dave Perry of the Dave Perry Co., is for zoning that would allow construction of 60 apartments.

In his report, Paul noted that the committee voted 15-0 with one abstention to recommend disapproval.

The request is to replace a single-family residence on the property adjacent to Alum Creek with three apartment buildings, each three stories tall, for moderate- to low-income residents, according to Logan.

"It's not in line with the Northland Plan I, either the old one or the new one," Logan said. "It ran so far afield. It's not that we wouldn't consider multifamily housing. It was the density and the height.

"They were wanting to park three-story buildings adjacent to single-family residences."

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