The application by the real estate management company Lifestyle Communities for the construction and development of 730 apartments on the site of the former residential complex of the United Methodist Children’s Home at 1033 N. High St. appears to be still in a waiting pattern.
The project was discussed at the Worthington Architectural Review Board and Municipal Planning Commission meeting on January 14th. However, it was not voted on a recommendation to Worthington City Council to convert the zoning of the site into a planned unitary development.
Lifestyle communities were given the opportunity to vote during the meeting, but representatives asked to submit their ARB and MPC proposals, according to Planning and Construction Director Lee Brown, the board and commission’s concerns reflecting opposition from some residents.
“Applicants wanted to set up a table to take into account the comments and questions they had heard from the board and the community commission,” Brown said.
No timetable has been set for the next meeting at which the project will be discussed. Brown said if the MPC made a recommendation, the council would schedule a public hearing and put the project to a vote.
The proposal has been known to the public for several months.
A 473-page document containing a plan to convert the property into a planned housing unit was presented to the city on October 5th.
The review of the development proposal, which was scheduled for the November 12th meeting of ARB and MPC, was postponed to December 10th and then again to January, both times at the request of the Lifestyle Communities.
The lifestyle communities’ proposal to ARB and MPC was that the Worthington project would bring economic benefits and meet the need for more local housing. The plan calls for a mix of apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes that would span nearly 40 acres on the site, in addition to commercial and medical offices and two parking garages.
Lifestyle Communities added in a PowerPoint that economic development would not only add homes and open up investment opportunities in Worthington, it would create 801 construction and 145 commercial and medical jobs, and develop $ 11 million in property taxes of $ 12.5 million in income taxes to the city over 30 years.
However, some ARB and MPC members shared concern that the proposal, in its current state, did not reflect the architectural style, building density and character of Worthington.
“Unfortunately (the proposal is) just not good enough,” said ARB and MPC member Edwin Hoffman during the January 14 meeting. “I don’t even get to architecture because, from my point of view, the planning is not as well thought out as it absolutely has to be.
“I’m not the one to say it has to look like everything else in Worthington, but at least it has to acknowledge it. … This is right in the middle of our community and I think you have heard from everyone loud and clear. You need to get your work team together and step back and from that standpoint think, how do you do this poetry? ? And I think you will get a lot further with us. ”
ARB member Richard Schuster raised concerns about the architectural style of the development and the building density of the project.
“When I look at the drawings or the different living styles suggested, I don’t think they actually reflect the variety of types of houses we have in Worthington,” said Schuster. “When I look at the renderings for the apartments, there is again no really defining architectural feature. I don’t want to use a derogatory term, but it’s pretty monotonous in its repeatability.
“One of the things we have to do in the Architectural Review Committee is to say, ‘How well does this fit into the general neighborhood? ‘And that’s too tight. “
Alderman David Robinson said in an email to ThisWeek that he was concerned about the proposal’s impact on traffic, crowd and the environment.
“The lifestyle project would cost us a huge amount – heavy traffic (in a school zone), a tight city budget, overcrowded schools, and a lost, degraded natural environment,” he said. “I am also impressed by the mediocrity of the basic concept. We can do a lot better.
“The public wants something good in the long term for the entire community. You can clearly see that LC is not. “
Materials on the UMCH proposal, including a summary of economic developments, a proposal from the applicant, and questions from the council to the applicant, are available at worthington.org.