By Lori Smith
Final plans for Redbud Commons, a 55-and-over community planned for Diley Road and State Route 256, are still in limbo after Pickerington City Council voted 4-2 to table amendments after concerns about liability came into play.
During the April 3 council meeting, discussion on the upscale apartment complex for active empty-nesters became heated as both council members and city officials expressed confusion over whether the city or state needs to approve the proposed changes. The building code specifies they must have eight inches of concrete foundation exposed, explained City Manager William Vance, and the company would like to leave less, which could potentially cause a problem down the road with pest control.
“We would have to assume liability associated with termite issues,” Vance said. “We don’t endorse a 30-year liability if we don’t have to.”
Council Vice-President Michael Sabatino said he has been opposed to the proposed changes from the start.
“There are a multitude of reasons why this should be decided at the state level and not the city,” he said. “You’re going to get a more definitive answer if you go to the state…For that reason I think the more appropriate way to have this discussion is at the state level.”
Councilman Jerry Dailey added, “I don’t see this as a design alternative…it is a code issue. I don’t think we need to be making code decisions at this level.”
Councilwoman Tricia Sanders said the topic has been discussed extensively in committee and work sessions for months, and said she believes the chief building official had indicated the company could bring the changes to the city level.
She invited architect Bradley Parish, representing the developer, to make some comments. He assured council that an acceptable alternative design has been created, and said it is his responsibility if there are problems with pests down the road.
“I’m on the hook for 30 years for it,” he said. “I feel confident in the design I’ve created.”
Council President Jeff Fix motioned to table the legislation, noting he wanted council to hear from the chief building official before making any final decisions.
“I’m kind of getting conflicted stories here,” he commented. “It smells funny.”
The motion to table the discussion passed 4-2, with Sabatino and Dailey casting the dissenting votes.
Redbud Commons, located at 602 Redbud Road, is the second development of Columbus-based Treplus Communities, and will feature 95 one- and two-bedroom apartment homes ranging from 1,240 to 1,589 square feet and rent will cost $1,700-$2,400 a month. Design plans include a community garden, a workout facility, and private event space. They are anticipating completion in 2018.
•Council passed legislation 4-2 on the first reading amending the 2018 appropriations. Dailey voted against the amendments, stating that they should have been separate change orders. Sabatino also dissented, and stated, “Some of these were for items that are already completed and are after-the-fact.”
Finance Director Chris Schornack noted, “Some of that was at (the company’s) risk because we had no purchase order for those items. There were five change orders and they wanted to come to council with them all at once.”
•Council passed legislation on the first reading suspending the annual 3 percent increase for water and sanitary sewer services.