By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Council approved a preliminary development plan that would put an apartment complex at 2384 Stringtown Road, the site of the former Star Cinema.
Even though several council members had concerns about the project, at the Oct. 16 meeting, council passed the preliminary plan with a 4-1 vote. Councilman Steve Bennett voted against the plan.
The developer, Mark Catalano with Fairway Realty, said diversity in housing is the trend. He believes the proximity to retail, dining and public transportation makes the location ideal for residential space.
Bennett disagrees and does not believe that area would be a good fit for apartments.
Councilman Ted Berry said housing so close to many dining options and retail could spur other development, but he said the preliminary plan needs “tweaking.”
When presented with the plan, council members were concerned that the design did not include road improvements.
“There needs to be some type of traffic flow,” said Berry. “Now it just seems like chaos.”
Council president Roby Schottke said that roadway is full of bumps and pot holes and that needs to be addressed as the development plan moves forward.Berry was also concerned about the lack of green space presented in the preliminary plan. He said as it looks now, there is no place to play for children or dogs.
Last month, council entered into a community reinvestment area agreement with Catalano and his company to redevelop the property. The agreement provides the company with a 15-year, 100 percent real property tax exemption for the assessed value of new construction at the site. The community reinvestment area was established in the mid-80s to encourage economic development that would result in job creation or retention.
Catalano said the real estate company also expressed interest in the adjacent Kmart property, but the store does not plan to leave its location.
In other news, Grove City council unanimously approved a resolution committing to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) Sustainable 2050 Program. This program replaces what was known as the Central Ohio Green Pact.
“This is the evolution of the Green Pact Committee,” said Linda Rosine, environmental supervisor for the city of Grove City.
City leaders believe being part of the program would help protect and preserve natural resources while pursuing initiatives that would have a positive impact on the environment. Rosine said as part of the program, the city would follow the objectives outlined by MORPC. She said the program has five goals – reduce per capita energy consumption and promote alternative fuel resources, protect natural resources, position central Ohio to attract and retain economic opportunity, create sustainable neighborhoods, and increase regional collaboration and educational opportunities.
Rosine will represent the city on the MORPC committee. There is no cost to participate in the program.