Bexley City Council is considering a resolution that would enable a private developer to apply for a state and county program to remediate contamination at an apartment complex in the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood in southwest Bexley.
Resolution No. 20-18 would formalize council's support for the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County to fund environmental remediation of the 72-unit Mayfield Apartments complex at 101-909 Mayfield Place. The resolution would assist a developer to apply for funds from the Affordable Housing Trust to proceed with purchasing the apartment complex and completing the remediation, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said.
"(The) plans involve basic renovation of the units," Kessler said. "It's preservation of the units as multi-family apartment housing."
Kessler did not disclose the name of the developer, since the purchase is still in contract, but he said he invited the developer to attend council's Nov. 13 meeting to answer questions publicly.
Kessler said Affordable Housing Trust representatives originally proposed that Bexley's Community Improvement Corporation should temporarily assume ownership of the property, assist with cleanup then return ownership of the property to the private developer.
"It's a very common tactic that's used through some grants and some loan programs," Kessler said.
Kessler said he proposed the alternative of submitting a mayoral letter of recommendation and the city council resolution to the Affordable Housing Trust for the developer to receive the funds directly for the environmental cleanup.
Councilman Tim Madison, chairman of council's Zoning, Development and Judiciary Committee, said it makes more sense for the developer to take responsibility for the environmental cleanup.
"What it does is it takes the CIC out of a position of liability," Madison said. "It's much better that this developer is going to be able to do it on his own."
Kessler said the environmental cleanup at the Mayfield Apartments complex coincides with efforts to promote revitalization in the neighborhood.
The city currently is developing athletic fields in the area that are scheduled to open next year. The development of the athletic fields also required environmental remediation due to the site's former use as a landfill.
When the city began developing the fields, environmental tests showed elevated levels of arsenic, hydrocarbons and other contaminants at the site.
The city also created a program in 2015 that enables the CIC to acquire properties in the Ferndale/Mayfield area when they go up for sale. The city is in the process of relocating residents who live in two CIC-owned properties, which each contain two apartment units that also require remediation.
Council is expected to vote on the matter at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.