Reynoldsburg: Developer to resubmit plans for The Oliver on Lancaster Avenue

KELLEY YOUMAN
editorial@thisweeknews.com
The Oliver is a planned development of more than 80 apartments and townhomes on Lancaster Avenue. The application was withdrawn during a Reynoldsburg Planning Commission meeting Sept. 17 after concerns were raised about incomplete application materials. Developer Michael Oliver of Principle Homes LLC said he would resubmit it when he has all the required documentation.

Plans for more than 80 apartments and townhomes on Lancaster Avenue were withdrawn during a Reynoldsburg Planning Commission meeting Sept. 17 after concerns were raised about incomplete application materials.

Former City Councilman Brett Luzader said the application “should have never been accepted by the city” because it lacked documentation, including a traffic-access study and a facility-demand worksheet for water and sewer services.

“It was fraudulently accepted by the city and therefore should not be considered … for a vote,” he said.

Pat Zollars, planning commission chairman, said although the proposal appears to meet zoning requirements, the application by developer Michael Oliver of Principle Homes LLC was incomplete and could either be tabled or withdrawn.

Oliver withdrew the application and said he would resubmit it when he has all the required documentation.

The meeting was the planning commission’s second hearing on a major site plan for The Oliver, a proposed community of 56 apartments and 32 townhomes on a 4.5-acre site at 1170 Lancaster Ave., just north of Grace Apostolic Church, according to documents submitted to the planning commission.

The church sold the property to Oliver, who said he closed on it the morning of the meeting.

An email from Grace Apostolic pastor Robert Linder was read into the record by Andrew Bowsher, the city’s development director. In it, Linder said the church welcomes the development and is “grateful for (Oliver’s) commitment to our area and willingness to invest in our neighborhood.”

The property is zoned residential medium.

Oliver said he has five active LLCs registered with the state of Ohio but never has completed a residential project of this size. He said he bought the property before receiving planning commission approval as a sign of his commitment to his investment in the community.

“I really have personal ties to Reynoldsburg,” he said. “I lived off Tussing (Road); I lived off Livingston (Avenue). I’ve also raised children in Reynoldsburg. It’s an opportunity to work with the city. I know there’s been a lot of pushback but I just want the city to know that we hear all of those concerns.”

The one- and two-bedroom apartments would range in size from 615 square feet to 998 square feet.

The two- and three-bedroom townhomes would include attached two-car garages and would range in size from 1,870 square feet to 2,350 square feet, according to the plans.

Plans include preserved wetlands space, interior sidewalks and a dog park that would be open to the surrounding community. A total of 132 parking spaces are planned, not including the townhome garages.

The apartments would be rented and the townhomes sold to private owners. Oliver said he would start a new company to serve as on-site management for the apartments.

The application initially was tabled after an Aug. 27 planning commission meeting, where more than a dozen residents, including Luzader, spoke against the development, citing concerns over traffic, flooding and whether the “skyscraper” buildings – proposed to be 3 stories tall – would fit with the character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Laurie Gunzelman of Gunzelman Architecture + Interiors, the project’s designer, said after that meeting more plantings were added to the design to buffer properties to the south and the number of setbacks were increased.

Planning commission member Steven Hicks said he will support the project if a complete application is submitted.

“I do think it looks very nice. I think that the modern farmhouse look is an appropriate transition from Olde Reynoldsburg going north,” he said.

An online petition at change.org urged the commission to reject the development.

The next planning commission meeting is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at City Hall, 7232 E. Main St.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews