The public will have another chance to opine about a Columbus developer's request the city vacate part of North Street in the Creekside area.
Metropolitan Holdings, 1433 Grandview Ave. in Columbus, has partnered with Gahanna's Doug Maddy of Brookwood Builders and Developers, with a proposal to build two apartment buildings with a total of 129 units on the east and west sides of Mill Street, south of Carpenter Road.
The second public hearing on the matter has been scheduled at Gahanna City Council's meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.
Local residents and business owners packed council chambers Nov. 4 during the first public hearing about the issue.
Matt Roberson said he and his wife own Blank Slate Coffee and operate a nonprofit, the Hart Room, in the Creekside district.
He said they also own a house that they chose partially because it is in walking distance of the Creekside district.
Roberson said a better climate must be created for new development in the Creekside district.
"There has been no significant development in the Creekside district for over a decade," he said. "In fact, it could be argued that the last serious investment in our downtown was the original Creekside development, which broke ground in 2005, which will be 15 years ago come May."
He said economic downturn, change in the housing market, bad luck and bad timing all have contributed to the situation; however, other communities have been able to right the ship and invest in their small-business community centers.
"Yet in Gahanna, we have seen over a decade of stagnation," Roberson said. "Our goal should be to encourage sound investment in our community, balancing short-term incentives for long-term gains."
He said the proposed development seeks to add population density, which translates into expanded clientele for the business community.
Randy Cisler, of C & M Leasing Co. at 171 N. High St. in Gahanna, said C & M has been a property owner in Olde Gahanna since 1987.
He said C & M's property also includes a parking lot that fronts Carpenter Road.
Cisler said he opposes the proposed development in its current form.
"We aren't anti-development in general," he said.
"We just feel that any development should not adversely affect others' real estate, but be for the betterment of the community in general."
Cisler said the proposed plan would vacate the city street, North Street, and block visibility of C & M.
He said he doesn't understand how a city street could be given to a private developer.
"This move alone will hamper all traffic and visibility to our retail businesses and the residents of North and High streets," Cisler said.
He said his concern is also for C & M's tenants who have built their businesses in their locations for the last 15 to 16 years.
"This development would totally change the purpose and use of the property we purchased in 1987," Cisler said.
Amanda Morris, who owns Mug and Brush Barber Shop, 153 N. High St., with her husband, Jim, said the rear of her property backs up to the rear of the proposed development.
"I'm concerned about access to my property from the rear," Morris said.
She said she and her husband work hard to keep their business running and to keep the business visible.
"There are several small businesses on North Street itself that you will be cutting off completely from the flow of traffic and to Mug and Brush, to be honest," Morris said. "So because I own the business and property, I do have personal concern for that."
Marie Olon said she has lived at Creekside for 10 years, and she's an original condominium owner there.
"I want to see it do well," she said.
Olon said she would like a traffic study of the area, because she already has to wait in traffic at certain times of the day.
"I've lived above empty, vacant offices and shops all those years," she said. "I've seen people come and go. So, we really would like to see it do well. If you can figure that out -- how to keep the traffic flow going and let all these residents you're going to introduce there not sit there also -- that's the one thing I would ask you to do."
Maddy thanked everyone for their input that he said would be taken into consideration.
He said he's open for conversation and wants to be neighborly and helpful.