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GHAC votes on rezoning for senior housing complex
The Greater Hilltop Area Commission (GHAC) voted 9-2 amend zoning for a planned senior housing complex on North Wheatland Avenue.
The housing complex, about a half mile off Broad Street, created a lengthy discussion between residents and commissioners on Feb. 7.
The WODA Group, that is developing the project, applied for the area to be rezoned from single-family dwellings to multi-family residential.
The company originally planned to develop 20 acres of land on North Wheatland Avenue, but amended that plan to just 8.6 acres.
The original plans called for a three-story, 60-unit building and park, a single-story, condo-style apartment building and 30 single family units in an area to be called Wheatland Crossing.
The city of Columbus is listed as a co-applicant since it owns the 20 acres of land behind the health center on the eastern edge of the Hilltop.
WODA still would like to pursue the three-story, 60-unit building and park on 8.6 acres on the northern part the 20 acres. It needs approval from the city for the rezoning. Seeking approval from the GHAC was the first step toward rezoning.
The commission’s zoning committee rejected the proposal after two meetings.
Commissioner Jim Lashbrook said he was concerned about traffic on the one way street.
“People want to know why it isn’t closer to Broad Street,” Commissioner Nancy Rhynard said.
Commissioner Geoffrey Phillips said with the rise in drug dealing and shootings, and being one street west of Oakley Avenue, the area is not safe for seniors.
“Why put low-income housing in an area when it is so vulnerable,” Phillips said, “instead of something that will raise the standards so (the residents) can walk down the street.”
Resident John Roback also said safety is an issue.
“We have a lot of boarded-up, burned-out and vacant houses already,” Roback said. “I’m against building a ghetto. It’s a bad idea and we have a lot of problems there. It’s a rough area to walk to Broad Street.”
“There is not a demand for this type of housing in this neighborhood,” said resident Marian Lupo.
Michelle Phillips, a 20-year resident, said there are no stores in the area and the residents would have to walk to West Broad Street to board a bus to go shopping.
“I want our seniors to be safe,” she said. “I wouldn’t want my mother to walk a half mile to get a bus to go get her groceries or walk on a street that isn’t well lit.”
The type of housing also bothered resident Ricardo Mendez.
“We don’t need rentals; we need mixed income housing” he said.
All the units would be rentals, with residents having an average income of $28,380.
The planned building and park would represent an $8 to $10 million investment, WODA officials said.
Phillips and commission chair Chuck Patterson voted against the ammendment.
“I’m willing to wait for what is right,” Patterson said.
Demolition on Eureka Avenue
The commission unanimously voted for the demolition of a house on 280 S. Eureka Ave., in an area where Habitat for Humanity plans to rehabilitate three houses and build two others.
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