Development continues to draw debate

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The Redwood Apartment neighborhood will be marketed to seniors, empty nesters and young professionals. Each of the single-story units are set to have two-car garages. More than 10 of the project’s 25 acres are designated as green space, including walking trails.
(Graphic submitted)

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Members of the public and city officials voiced both concern and support for a proposed apartment development on Route 4 at Monday night’s Marysville City Council meeting.
The Redwood Apartment neighborhood is a nearly 26-acre, 143-unit complex proposed for the southeast corner of the Scott Farm Boulevard and Route 4 intersection. Officials have said they will be marketed to seniors, empty nesters and young professionals.
Each of the single-story units are set to have two-car garages.
The only proposed exit for the development will direct traffic onto Scott Farms Boulevard.
The land is currently being farmed. It is zoned B-1 as a service business district. At the Tuesday, May 28 meeting, council will hold a final reading on whether to rezone the property as a Planned Unit Development, clearing the way for the apartment complex to move forward.
Shawn Goodwin, of American Structurepoint, said that if the project is approved, contractors could begin working this autumn and the first units could be on the market as early as next spring.
Resident Joshua Bochkor questioned if the Redwood development should move forward.
“Is this what the city has planned for? Is this what our community really needs?” he asked.
He said he does not want Marysville to “turn into a place of apartments and condos like other communities in central Ohio.”
He said apartments do not add to the character of a community because they create their own neighborhoods.
Bochkor said he understands there is a need for affordable housing in the area, but said apartments with rent at $1,400 a month, “is not affordable housing” for those that need it.
Council President and Mayor J.R. Rausch said officials have been struggling to create affordable housing options. He said 79% of the housing units in the city are single family homes. He said that even with new and proposed multi-family units, the ratio wouldn’t dip below 70% for a decade.
Rausch called the price of housing in the community “exorbitant.”
“It’s simple economics,” Rausch said. “It is supply and demand.”
He said it is difficult to think of areas like Hilliard and Dublin as having more affordable options than Marysville, “but that where we are at right now.”
Realtor Katie Crocco addressed council, speaking for the Marysville Association of Realtors. She echoed the idea that Marysville needs more housing diversity and opportunity.
“There is a definite, definite need,” she said, explaining that she has nowhere to put people who sell their homes.
She said the lack of housing options makes it difficult to recruit new residents to the area or to keep young people.
“We want them here. We want them looking here. I need a place to put them,” Crocco said.
She said businesses are struggling to find and keep staff for lower paying jobs.
Rausch said his part of the newly created Union County Housing Task Force, which is looking at the impact of the current housing market as well as options to increase diversity.
Becky Mash, of Hillview Road, questioned if the developer will provide an environmental report for the project. She said the site was formerly used by Scott’s and “they used a lot of chemicals.”
Rausch said the company is not required to make that study public.
Goodwin, said a final review of the traffic study indicates the intersection at Route 4 and Scott Farms Boulevard needs a traffic light, whether the apartment complex is approved or not.
“It is needed today without the project,” Goodwin said, presenting a variety of animated representations of the current traffic patterns as well as expected patterns if a light is installed.
Engineer Jeremy Hoyt agreed, noting that even if the development is denied, the city will need to install a light at the intersection. He said the light will make the intersection “better and safer.” He said the number of accidents in the area has increased.
Bochkor agreed there is a need for a traffic light at the intersection but said it was made necessary by the creation of Cook’s Pointe.
Goodwin said the study indicated that in addition to the already necessary light, the only road improvement the complex would need is some striping on Scott Farms Boulevard.
He said the city and the developer have reached an agreement to have the developer pay $100,000 for the light. The cost of the light and engineering is estimated at $300,000.
Hoyt said there are still questions about how the money will be paid. He said the city could wait on the money before installing the light, it could front the money then have the developer make a payment or it could have the developer pay the full amount and have the city make a payment.
Council member Nevin Taylor said that as someone who would be voting on the proposal, “I’d like to have that answered ahead of time.”
Rausch said he was initially opposed to the project. He said that as he has watched the developer respond to public input and as he has learned more about the crisis of housing in the city, his mind has changed.
“We need to really consider adding this,” Rausch said.



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