A developer's proposal for a 4-story mixed-use development on Grandview Avenue has been met with numerous concerns raised by Grandview planning commission members and residents who live on Broadview Avenue behind the project site.
The planning commission held an informal discussion Nov. 20 of Crossley Development's plan to demolish the existing homes at 1229 and 1237 Grandview Ave. and replace them with a building that would feature office or retail uses on the first floor and 29 one- and two-bedroom condominiums on the top three floors.
The proposed project attempts to "check all the boxes" of the vision for Grandview Avenue included in the overlay district the city adopted 12 years ago, said Ryan Crossley, a Marble Cliff resident and one of the principals of Crossley Development.
That plan "envisioned urbanization and revitalization" for the Grandview Avenue district, he said.
The two properties are zoned C-2 Commercial. The two single-family homes at the site now were grandfathered in when the commercial zoning was established.
The mixed-use building would include private terraces and balconies, a lobby with an elevator and a common lounge. Plans show 46 parking spaces with stacked surface and garage parking in the rear.
"I know there's concern about the size of the building compared to what is there now," said Karrick Ryan Sherrill, an architect with the Columbus Design Co. who is working on the project with Crossley Development.
But, he said, the building's size and scope are comparable to other projects that have been built close to the site.
The floor-area ratio for the proposed building is smaller than that of other similar projects at the corner of Grandview and Third avenues, 1250 Grandview Ave. and 1400 Grandview Ave., Sherrill said.
The floor-area ratio measures a building's floor area in relation to the size of the lot or parcel.
Broadview Avenue residents filled council chambers Nov. 20, with some forced to stand outside the room and in the hallway, to demonstrate their overwhelming opposition to the project as proposed.
Attorney Bill Loveland told the commission he has been retained by the owners of three Broadview residences that sit directly behind and to the west of the project site.
"The entire Broadview street is adamantly opposed to this type of development," Loveland said.
"They find this proposal to be outrageous. It's a monstrous building ... it's unprecedented."
One of those clients, Eilay Shipp, said she wanted to buy a house in Grandview because "I fell in love with the village feel."
"I have no issue with commercial development," she said -- adding she never expected that a four-story building would be constructed 1.2 feet from the back of her property.
Sherrill confirmed to the commission that the development as proposed would indeed be 1.2 feet from the edge of Shipp's property and the land of her Broadview neighbors.
Travis Ulmer lives in another Broadview Avenue home directly behind the project site.
"It's our dream house," he said.
His children play in a sandbox in his backyard, Ulmer said.
If the Crossley project is built, his children "will be playing in a solar eclipse" each morning, he said.
The "grotesque" four-story building would be the first thing he would see as he walks out his front door, Broadview Avenue resident Ted Duffy said.
"If this is what Grandview is going to turn into, we made a mistake when we bought our house 10 years ago," he said.
Planning commission members expressed plenty of concern about the project as well.
The developer will need a conditional-use permit to allow the residential units on the second floor and above, planning commission member Frances Rourke said.
That would be allowable as long as there was commercial use on the first floor, she said.
Rourke said it seems as if the developer really wants residential development at the site, but put the commercial use on the first floor mainly to allow that to happen.
She said she also is concerned about the amount of traffic the residential units would bring to "an already congested area" on Grandview Avenue.
While the proposed plan for the project does push back the fourth floor from Grandview Avenue, it also encroaches mightily on the residents who live behind the site on Broadview, Rourke said.
The idea of creating smaller, more-affordable units is good, but the developer has a lot of work to do with the commission and the city to end up with a project that can be approved, she said.
The site does not contain "enough land for this kind of project," commission member Robert Wandel said.
He suggested the developer do more to work with the commercial property owners to the north and south of the site to see if there is a concept that can incorporate those properties into a workable solution for the Crossley project.
Crossley said his company has reached out to those property owners, but without success.
The planning commission originally was scheduled to consider several requests submitted by the developer for the Nov. 20 agenda, including a major site-plan review, the conditional-use permit to allow the residential units, a variance from the required 49 parking spaces that would be required under the zoning code, approval of a demolition permit and permission for a lot consolidation.
Because of a "glitch" in giving appropriate notice to nearby property owners, the developer agreed to hold only an informal discussion, said Patrik Bowman, the city's director of administration/economic development.
If the developer wants to continue to pursue the various requests, notification will have to be sent again to property owners and the case will have to be placed on the agenda of a future planning commission meeting, he said.