Cassday, Livingston developments in Bexley scheduled for Feb. 25 review
Two new mixed-use developments planned for Cassady Avenue in north Bexley and E. Livingston Avenue in south Bexley are scheduled for review before the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning (BZAP) on Feb. 25.
The proposed mixed-use residential and commercial developments at 420 N. Cassady Ave. and 2300 E. Livingston Ave. received a preliminary BZAP review and approval from the Architectural Review Board (ARB) in January.
The developments are a joint venture between the Bexley Community Improvement Corp., the city’s nonprofit development entity, and The Community Builders, a national nonprofit housing developer.
The Cassady and Livingston developments are part of a long-term effort to bring more affordable housing to Bexley, Mayor Ben Kessler said.
“Our vision is that we're providing housing across all income spectrums,” Kessler said. “It’s not just housing of last resort, it’s housing that provides solid connections to neighborhoods and is safe and attractive and it’s comfortable.”
Attracting more affordable housing is included in the city’s 2013 overall strategic plan and a separate diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan City Council adopted last year, Kessler said.
Bexley also is working with the city of Columbus on a joint Livingston Avenue plan to increase safety and promote development in the area. The proposed development at 2300 E. Livingston Ave. dovetails with the city’s efforts to redevelop the Ferndale/Mayfield area in southwest Bexley that borders E. Livingston Avenue, CIC member Nate Green said.
The CIC operates a program in which the organization acquires properties in the Ferndale/Mayfield area on behalf of the city when properties become available for purchase, with the goal of rehabilitating them and returning them to private developers that will provide affordable housing.
“When we started to buy those units at Fernaldale, that was really our long-term strategy to figure out mixed-income housing in the city,” Green said.
The proposed development at 420 N. Cassady Ave. is also part of a larger effort by the city to promote development in the North Cassady Avenue corridor, CIC member Sara Gold said.
“One of the things we keep on hearing, that I have heard from members of the community, is a concern that someone’s going to build these apartment units and then just leave town and who knows what's going to happen to them,” she said. “And that’s always a fear with anything where you don’t know what continuity is going to look like with the ownership.”
The CIC’s involvement is intended to bring long-term stability to the development process, Gold said.
“Being the members of the CIC, we’re accountable to the City Council, were accountable to the administration, we’re accountable to the citizens,” she said. “Anything we do, we want to make sure it’s well taken care of and that it’s a quality product. We’re going to stay for a long time and we'll make sure that the TCB has that goal.”
If BZAP approves the Livingston and Cassady developments, City Council will have final approval.
“City Council’s role in this is to be supportive of the process and also make sure that the process of BZAP and ARB serve the people as well, that the infrastructure is proper and the architecture is proper and that it is an asset to the community and the people around us,” council member Troy Markham said.
The Feb. 25 BZAP meeting is scheduled to be held virtually at 6 p.m. at bexley.org.