Northwest Civic Association board members basically called for a cooling-off period after dozens of upset residents living near a proposed development along Reed Road created a standing-room-only situation at the Feb. 6 meeting.

Possible traffic woes and plummeting property values were among things they said worried them if Preferred Living receives permission for the project on 8.5 acres in the 5000 block of Reed Road that would include a new headquarters building for the Burgess and Niple civil engineering firm and 180 apartments.

At the Feb. 6 meeting, NWCA President Nick Cipiti indicated the trustees opted to table consideration of the matter.

Preferred Living's chief development officer, Jared Smith, agreed to withdraw the application from consideration by the Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment Feb. 14 and instead meet with representatives of homeowners associations in the vicinity "to work out details of their concerns," Cipiti said.

"We will sort through their issues to determine what (Preferred Living) is willing to do to accommodate the neighbors, what the neighbors are willing to live with, and which issues should be addressed by the city," he said.

"Once we sort through it all, we will hear it again next month and vote on it."

That meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 6 at the Meadow Park Church of God, 2425 Bethel Road.

During his presentation Feb. 6, Smith noted that current zoning would allow the site to be developed with as much as 125,000 square feet of office space, which he predicted would have a greater traffic impact on the area in the morning and at quitting time than the combination of a corporate headquarters and the 180 one- and two-bedroom apartments in five three-story buildings.

"One of the charms of this going office and residential ... (is) when the office comes, residential is going, and vice versa," said James Gallagher, a traffic engineer hired by Preferred Living.

"We're really excited about this project," Smith said.

He said Preferred Living was willing to donate as much as $100,000 for improvements to Northcrest Park, just west of the site, and Burgess and Niple officials would contribute $125,000.

"Our employees really love this neighborhood," Mark Berhardt, the firm's chairman, told trustees.

Burgess and Niple has been based in Columbus for more than a century, and in the current headquarters for almost 50 years, he said.

"The building doesn't fit for our needs any more," Bernhardt said. "It's too big."

"I have a concern about the number of parking spaces," NWCA Trustee Dennis Damon told Smith. "That's not enough parking spaces to suit the purpose."

The spaces meet the city code of one and a half for each apartment, plus there are overflow spaces in the corporate headquarters parking area, Smith said.

"We have every interest in designing it correctly," he said.

"We oppose this project," Steve Donnell, president of the Rittenhouse Square Condominium Association, said once the meeting was opened for public comment.

The concerns of his members and others in the area include security, the appearance of the apartment buildings, property values and, above all, traffic, he stated in a letter submitted at to Burgess and Niple.

"Another bigger concern is renters don't typically have a vested interest in the community," Donnell said at the meeting.