A public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4, at the Gahanna City Council meeting to gather public input for the Mill Street apartment developers’ request for Gahanna to vacate part of North Street in the Creekside area.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.
Metropolitan Holdings is asking Gahanna to vacate one block of North Street to help make way for two proposed apartment buildings with a total of 129 units on the east and west sides of Mill Street, south of Carpenter Road.
Council member Jamie Leeseberg, chairman of the finance committee, said council member Stephen Renner voiced concerns about vacating North Street during a recent committee meeting, and city attorney Shane Ewald said it would be proper to hold a public hearing.
Following that request and recommendation, Leeseberg said, he asked the council clerk to have the public hearing at the next regularly scheduled meeting, Nov. 4.
Renner posted on social media Nov. 1 that the developer’s request is for the city to donate a section of the publicly-owned land.
“The developers are asking us to vacate one block of North Street – not sell it to them, give it to them – so that their properties on either side of North Street would be adjoined and they can proceed with their proposed apartment building. This probably sounds preposterous to most of you, but this type of ask is not unusual in the economic-development world.”
He said what is different amounts to two things.
“One, that a public hearing has been scheduled so readily without more public notification,” Renner wrote on social media. “My council colleagues only intend to hold two meetings on this matter before they decide, so I feel an urgent need to alert you.”
Two, Renner said, this is not a request of public right-of-way for a different public purpose.
“This is a request by a private developer for free public land,” he said.
In an email to council, Renner said he’s delighted to see support for the public hearing but it’s his opinion that it falls below the standards in appropriate public notifications for such a hearing.
Leeseberg said his intention isn’t to expedite any of the process but instead to keep it moving.
He said the issue would still go to the city planning commission for its input.
Leeseberg sent an email to council Nov. 1 saying, “This is not an attempt to rush anything but instead a way to keep what Mayor (Tom) Kneeland referred to as a ‘good project’ moving through what (councilman) Mr. (Brian) Metzbower called an ‘open and transparent’ process.”
A second public hearing has been scheduled regarding vacating North Street at Gahanna City Council’s Nov. 18 meeting that begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.