Members of the Northland Community Council development committee voted overwhelmingly April 25 to recommend rejection of a three-building, 60-unit apartment complex at 5049 Sunbury Way.

The vote was 15-0 against with one abstention, said committee Chairman Dave Paul.

A slightly different configuration of Homeport's project at that site was met with the same vote in December.

"Then maybe it wasn't meant to be," Paul said the day after the panel's monthly session.

Dave Perry of David Perry Co., as he did in December, represented Homeport before the committee. He was accompanied by James Baugh, senior vice president of Homeport, who explained to committee members why the development company is standing firm on 60 units and what makes the 5-acre site desirable for the project.

Homeport is seeking funding for the project through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Competition for the agency's dollars is fierce, Baugh said, and one of the tiebreakers for receiving funding is the size of the project, with 60 as the minimum.

As for that location, Baugh said, first and foremost, it's for sale. Second, it's in a good neighborhood with adequate transportation and other amenities, as well as being within two miles of 20,000 jobs that pay $40,000 or less, he said.

"This does not impact negatively on any land uses," Baugh said. "I usually say minimal. There is no impact."

Residents of the Creekridge subdivision, just north of the proposed apartments, disagreed and were well represented at the April 25 meeting.

Peak Ridge Drive resident Lauren Ranalli, who said she was speaking on behalf of 14 neighbors, told committee members the concerns of the people who live in the single-family development have to do with density, building height and buffering from the parking lot.

With Homeport officials declining to back away from either the 60-unit minimum or the three-story buildings, Ranalli said compromise was not possible.

Ranalli said the proposed apartment development represents an "extreme change" from what's called for on that site in the Northland Plan, which is single-family houses at two to four an acre.

"We just want it to be something that's appropriate," Ranalli said.

"These land-use relationships are all over Northland and the city," Perry said of single-family homes adjacent to apartments.

"There was some discussion of the fact that, basically, for whatever reason, Homeport was unwilling or unable to compromise in the density," Paul said of the committee's deliberations. "What I think they are thinking, we understand that Homeport has that limitation, but the neighborhoods nearby ... shouldn't suffer for that inflexibility."

Also at last week's meeting, committee members voted 15-0 with one abstention to recommend approval for a rezoning that would allow a Moo Moo Express Car Wash to go in at 1296 Morse Road, formerly the site of a McDonald's restaurant.

"It just seemed to fit into that site," Paul said, noting that several other proposals had been floated but none had come before the development committee.