National Church Residences representatives are planning Thursday, Feb. 28, to attend Worthington's municipal-planning commission and architectural-review board meeting to get more feedback from residents and board members on the development, according to city spokeswoman Anne Brown.

Corrections: Because of a reporter's error, the print version of this story in the Feb. 21 edition of the ThisWeek Worthington News said National Church Residences representatives did not respond to questions about why the company requested the plan be tabled. Because of a reporter's error in an online update, National Church Residences incorrectly was reported as planning to return to the Feb. 28 municipal-planning commission and architectural-review board meeting with a revised plan.

National Church Residences representatives are planning Thursday, Feb. 28, to attend Worthington’s municipal-planning commission and architectural-review board meeting to get more feedback from residents and board members on the development, according to city spokeswoman Anne Brown.

At the Feb. 14 MPC and ARB meeting, the developer requested to table the plans for Stafford Village, a senior-housing complex at 814 Hartford St. in Worthington.

"We asked that the proposal for Stafford Village be tabled because we await input from the architectural-review board and remain committed to working with the community," said Todd Hutchins, director of public relations for National Church Residences. "So far, we have conducted more than 40 stakeholder meetings during the past year in order to solicit feedback and develop a plan that meets the needs of residents and serves the Worthington community for many years."

Brown said usually when a proposal is tabled, it is not ready for a vote. A developer then typically will modify parts of the plan and possibly submit a new proposal, she said.

It then would be put back on the meeting schedule, Brown said.

She said she didn't know the timeline for this project, and it would depend on the developer.

After the Feb. 14 tabling, construction on the new Stafford Village is expected to start this fall and last for 18 months, Hutchins said.

Brown said the MPC would have to make a recommendation in order for the plan to go to Worthington City Council for a final vote.

National Church Residences and architect Brian Jones of the Jones Studio in Columbus plan to redevelop the ranch-style apartment buildings on the property into 85 larger units on the current site, according to plans previously submitted to the MPC and ARB.

The site plan included covered parking, a feature Jones called a “pocket park,” or a small park accessible to the public, and New England-style architecture that is designed to fit in historical Worthington.

National Church Residences CEO Mark Ricketts held a presentation for the community on the plans for Stafford Village on Feb. 13 at the Griswold Center.

He presented the new Stafford Village as having a three-pronged focus: to maintain walkability, affordability and availability for seniors.

He said every resident would receive $10,000 to assist with the transition, moving expenses, deposit for a new apartment and gaps in utility costs.

“Our goal here is to maintain affordability for all seniors,” he said.

Both the planning commission meeting and the presentation were given to a crowd, with many residents voicing opinions on the construction plans.

MPC chairman Mikel Coulter said the city has received many letters that voiced both positive and negative feedback on the project.

“Their imagination is my nightmare,” said Mirriam Utter, a 76-year-old Worthington resident.

Utter said the plan destroys the ambiance of the city and she was frustrated by a lack of facts given by Ricketts at the Griswold Center presentation.

The Stafford Village apartments were constructed in the 1970s in conjunction with Worthington Presbyterian Church, said George Tabit, vice president of senior housing development for National Church Residences.

In 2016, the company acquired the portion the church owned, he said.

Tabit said National Church Residences knew at the time a renovation plan was needed so the community wouldn’t be at risk.

Construction is expected to start this summer and last for 18 months, he said.

National Church Residences, headquartered in Upper Arlington, is a “not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing” options, with 340 communities around the country and Puerto Rico," according to its website.

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