Bexley, Capital sign good neighbor agreement; variance passes

Capital University will be getting 30 additional apartments for its students, and Bexley  city officials and residents have guarantees in writing regarding the institution’s off-campus  rental properties, following the March 18 approval of a zoning variance and a "good neighbor" agreement by City Council.

Council voted 5-0 in favor of the variance and the attached agreement. Councilman Rick Weber, a real estate agent, abstained because he has a listing at the location, and Councilman Mark Masser was absent.

The variance allows Capital to convert the Woodsview condominiums at 2130 Astor Ave., now restricted by the condo bylaws to residents age 55 and over, into apartments for up to 60 students.

The "good neighbor" agreement addresses the concerns of residents about noise, traffic and trash generated by students at this and other rental properties owned by Capital.

"We believe we have addressed everything that was brought up," commented attorney Don Plank, representing Capital.

Key provisions include permission for Bexley’s code enforcement officers to inspect the inside of rental properties once they become vacant before they can be re-occupied. The officers already have the right to inspect the outside.

The Astor Avenue apartments will be limited to two occupants. Special parking permits will be required to identify vehicles owned by the residents. Capital plans to rent to juniors and seniors with grade point averages of 2.75 and higher.

Students violating the university’s code of conduct can be required to perform community service, including cleaning up debris, in off-campus areas, under the agreement.

Plank noted that Capital does not lease to students, and that they can be removed from any of the properties for misbehavior without an eviction notice under their rental agreements.

Bexley resident Al and Donna Abrams, who live adjacent to the Astor site, will get a fence between the properties to keep students from cutting through their lot.

Bexley City Attorney Lou Chodosh said he had sought to increase the number of residential assistants monitoring the apartments, but Capital held at one. They will continue an increase if problems arise.

The pact also calls for regular meetings between city and university officials.

College Avenue resident Richard Sharp suggested that a community relations seminar be required for students who will be living off-campus, to inform them about how they are expected to conduct themselves.

Mayor John Brennan is discussing the formation of a Capital watch group that will keep an eye out for problems and spread the word about good things happening on campus.

He and Police Chief Larry Rinehart reported that officers have stepped up patrols in the neighborhood, and will continue to closely watch the area.

Attorney Michael Schaffer, representing 11 condo residents, expressed their appreciation for approving the variance. These residents have explained that they have been unable to sell their units under the current age restriction.

College Avenue resident Robert Taylor also thanked council for listening to the concerns of area property owners.

Bexley is in negotiations to purchase 1.63 acres on Delmar Avenue for the location of a new police station on the city’s far north side. The plan, as an alternative to replacing the station on Main Street, drew positive responses during a March 18 public hearing.

Police station hearing

Council also held a public hearing on plans to construct a new police station on Delmar Avenue on the north side of the city, and drew favorable comments from residents.

The city is in negotiations to purchase the 1.63-acre site for a projected $320,000, according to Councilman Ben Kessler. Cost for construction of the station is estimated at $6 million.

Advantages to building on Delmar, rather than replacing the station on Main Street, include a savings of $2.5 million for moving the service department garage, Kessler explained.

This also could allow future commercial development on the City Hall property. The existing station would be renovated for public meetings.

Moving the service department would delay construction of the police station by two years, Kessler added.

Chief Rinehart said replacing the station, built in 1950 as a firehouse, "is critical for the welfare of the police force," particularly for recruiting and retaining officers.

Rinehart said that moving northward will not affect response time, since officers deploy from their cruisers on patrol and not the station.

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