A rezoning request to allow an apartment complex to be built on Taylor Road near East Main Street will be back before a Reynoldsburg City Council committee Sept. 24 -- and could go on for a final vote by the full council that same evening.
Council's public service and transportation committee will consider a rezoning ordinance for a new plan from Metro Development at its 7:30 p.m. meeting. If the committee approves it, the ordinance will receive a final vote by the full council after all council committee sessions are concluded.
The committee meetings will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Buiding, 7232 E. Main St.
The Reynoldsburg Planning Commission voted 3-1 on Sept. 6 to approve a revised design from Metro Development that cut the number of units from 240 to 192.
The proposal to build several 2-story apartment buildings has been opposed for more than eight months by some residents and City Council members. Residents cited concerns about increased traffic and the density of the project, which would be located at 9366 to 9370 Taylor Road Southwest.
The planning commission denied Metro's original design because it included 3-story buildings, then approved a revised plan June 7, after only 2-story buildings were included, along with a promise to add a southbound turning late at Taylor Road and East Main Street to ease traffic concerns.
When that plan was submitted in July, however, members of the public service and transportation committee wanted the number of units reduced and sent the proposal back to the planning commission.
City Council still has the final say on whether to allow the 24-acre parcel to be rezoned from community commerce and multiple-family residence to a planned neighborhood development zone -- the only way Metro Development officials have said they can proceed with the project.
Metro representative Joe Thomas said the density is down to 7.9 units per acre, well below the nearly 10 units per acre in the original design.
"We removed three buildings that would be at the west/south and west/north of the site," he said told the planning commission Sept. 6.
"We felt those were the best buildings to remove to continue to increase the distance between ourselves and the neighbors directly impacted to the west of us."
He said the number of garages was cut from 84 to 60.
He said Metro would rather contribute financially to the city park system instead of building a park area on the site, which was in the original plan.
Councilman Brett Luzader said the density still is too high.
"The design is improved, but it still does not fall into what our city code says, which is to build no more than five units per acre," he said. "Our code also calls for a garage or covered parking space for every unit.
"I'm not against apartments, but we have a code we swore to follow," he said. "We took an oath to follow the code, which is the same as the law."
Development Director Andrew Bowsher said the city has reached out to Taylor Road neighbors several times to try to alleviate their concerns.
He said a community survey about the comprehensive development plan city leaders are developing revealed "a huge push for high-end apartment living as well as senior housing."
He would not go on record to confirm whether his department officially supports the project.
"I will say that as a growing and expanding region, we cannot hold the mistakes of past developments and weigh those negatively for future new developments," he said. "To allow our community to be competitive versus other regional cities, we must allow for a mixture of housing.
"Condos, apartments, senior housing, single-family homes and townhomes all play a role in a diverse and forward-thinking Reynoldsburg," he said.
"Our way forward is to revitalize old and dilapidated housing, while building new developments to compete with those aging houses. This would, in turn, cause those developments to be revitalized."
"The design is improved, but it still does not fall into what our city code says, which is to build no more than five units per acre."
-- BRETT LUZADER
Reynoldsburg City Council member