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Clintonville Area Commission needs Reboot

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Development Clintonville Area Commission needs Reboot

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #1117658
    Ned23
    Ned23
    Participant

    The recent spate of “Extended Stay Hotel” apartment projects, along Indianola Avenue is a clear signal that the Clintonville Area Commission (CAC) has dropped the ball on implementing a coordinated plan for Indianola Avenue. Years of antagonistic head-butting with developers has created a situation where developers no longer see the CAC as a partner to work with but as an obstacle to be circumvented via the zoning code. This has to be fixed.

    The CAC missed a golden opportunity to set a precedent for Indianola with the Olympic Pool project. The developers originally proposed a very attractive, no-setback project with rear parking under standard apartment zoning. It should have been clear to anyone watching development around the city that this was a harbinger of more to come. When the Olympic was proposed the CAC should have seized the opportunity to set the standard for additional development to come. They did not.

    Hence we find ourselves in the position we are today, where developers are exploiting loopholes in the zoning code. Rather than producing modern, attractive projects that will contribute positively to property values and the image of the neighborhood, we’re seeing suburban-style “hotel” development with large setbacks and fast-food style retail at the street. This type of development does not have the same positive impact on property values down the road.

    The CAC needs to:

    1. Send a consistent message to developers that is consistent with their development plan.

    2. Get a grasp on the Indianola corridor before it gets away from them permanently.

    The CAC should immediately decide what they want Indianola to look like and implement that policy consistently from one developer to the next.

    Thoughts?

    #1117660

    ohbr
    Participant

    The CAC and city have a development plan for Indianola and the Clintonville community at large. Just like in other areas with current neighborhood plans (i.e. Pavey block) developers will still try the extended stay hotel where they can. It’s just easier all around for them if hey can take advantage.

    As for the Clintonville plan, it’s pretty vague but at the same time, these areas clearly call for mixed use in their own plan so theoretically, things should be fine. The recommendation is 20-30 units per acre too so there is some room for density in their own plan in this area.

    In fact, at one time, there was a specific plan for the Indianola Corroridor and ideas from that plan resurface now and again but nothing has really come of it. I’m just hoping the planted medians eventually come through at Studio 35.

    But otherwise, I think you’re right in that the CAC is obstructionist and needs a reboot especially if they are not willing to try to work with developers to at least meet the standards of their own plan. Why even adopt a plan if you’re going to ignore it?

    https://www.columbus.gov/uploadedFiles/Columbus/Departments/Development/Planning_Division/Document_Library/Library_Documents/PDFs/Clintonville_Neighborhood_Plan.pdf

    #1117663
    whopper jr
    whopper jr
    Participant

    The extended stay loophole in the zoning code isn’t just happening in Clintonville, it has been happening all over Columbus recently. Essentially, apartments are not permitted uses in these Commercial and Manufacturing districts, but extended stay hotels are a permitted use. These are apartment uses being built under the extended stay loophole. So tenants will sign a 1-month “extended stay” lease that automatically renews for 11 more months, making a 12-month lease. The credit/tenant checks appear to be just as thorough as a standard apartment credit check. Plus, these “extended stay” units are on par with all the other traditional new apartment complexes being built.

    #1117667
    Ned23
    Ned23
    Participant

    Yes, but the plan needs to be implemented consistently when developers look at the plan and then ask for zoning variances to achieve the desired look.

    #1117672

    ohbr
    Participant

    Yes, but the plan needs clear criteria and procedures for developers to get zoning variances to achieve the desired look. It has to say “we prefer to issue these types of zoning variances if it will produce those types of buildings”

    I don’t know of any development plan that includes criteria of how to get variances to achieve certain results. With or without variances, development plans have what the desired look and end result should be. Even the CAC plan has photos and examples of the type of structures and developments they want and where. The plan clearly indicates mixed used along the lines of the Olympic. Street presence, improved pedestrian experience et al. The plan is pretty decent On paper. The developer can come to he CAC with a plan that fits what we might expect as a more urban model, and fits within the plan and take it to the CAC and they’d probably still reject it. Has nothing to do with not having guidelines on what the end result needs to be. They have them. They just don’t want to use them.

    #1117673
    Ned23
    Ned23
    Participant

    … Has nothing to do with not having guidelines on what the end result needs to be. They have them. They just don’t want to use them.

    If they don’t follow through on the plan, then they don’t really have a “plan” – they have a feel-good paperweight.

    #1117676

    ohbr
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>ohbr wrote:</div>
    … Has nothing to do with not having guidelines on what the end result needs to be. They have them. They just don’t want to use them.

    If the plan isn’t contingent on action in some way, then they don’t really have a “plan” – they have a feel-good paperweight.

    That’s all neighborhood plans, though. They are not designed as a ‘if this, then that’ document. Short North, IV, VV, Downtown, University District all have plans but to my knowledge, none of them have the provisions you talk about. Now, some of them do indicate possible zoning changes but they aren’t indicative of ‘we’ll change the rules if you meet this criteria.’ The way they work is this land has this criteria. Period. The variances are always case by case and in the case of changing zoning, that should be easily done but the reason for not having a zoning change is to get away from a neighborhood plan. If you skirt the zoning change and stick with the extended stay model, you’re basically saying that you want to avoid the plan in some cases. The way to possibly avoid that is to change the zoning with the community plan at the same time but I don’t believe that’s possible. Partially because changing the zoning at the adoption might put what currently resides on any particular plot of land out of compliance with zoning regulation.

    #1117677
    Ned23
    Ned23
    Participant

    It’s about consistency and precedents. If Developer 1 proposes a project that fits “the plan” and it gets shot down, then why should developer 2 waste their time trying to meet the plan?

    Marketing 101: send a consistent message.

    #1117682

    ohbr
    Participant

    It’s about precedents. If Developer 1 proposes a project that fits “the plan” and it gets shot down, then why should developer 2 waste their time trying to meet the plan?

    Marketing 101: send a consistent message.

    This, I agree on completely. It’s not the lack of a plan that hurts Clintonville in some off see cases. It’s the lack of following it. Same thing with any other neighborhood. Short North and it’s precedents for height variances. They started giving height variances and suddenly they have 11 story proposals and people are outraged. Vice versa downtown, developers come in under the development plan, the city says sure, and makes way for the next developer to do the same. There’s nothing that a development plan can really do to change that. It’s just a matter of human nature to do the rest.

    #1117695
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Plus, these “extended stay” units are on par with all the other traditional new apartment complexes being built.

    Yeah. I’ve seen some handwringing that Extended Stay Hotels = budget motels = crime. But that’s not the case. Here’s two “Extended Stay Hotels” that were recently completed via the loophole… they’re normal apartment communities…

    http://www.livepreferred.com/taylor-house-home.html

    http://www.livepreferred.com/madison-park-home.html

    #1117710

    DouginCMH
    Participant

    First, regarding the Indianola project, I guess I don’t see the problem or what the CAC could possibly do to affect it in any way. Clintonville is part of the City of Columbus and, hence, subject to city zoning. This project meets existing zoning requirements. Maybe there’s loophole that’s being exploited, but the CAC can’t do anything about that. I also guess that developers are very familiar with these kinds of opportunities and take advantage of them whenever they can, all around the city, not just in Clintonville. Why wouldn’t they?

    I’m curious, too, how the CAC has been dropping “the ball on implementing a coordinated plan for Indianola Avenue.” How does the Commission implement the neighborhood plan? It can’t make its own projects. Rather, it has to respond to development opportunities as they arise. I assume you’re maybe arguing that the Commission should set a plan and stick to it? It’s funny, but on High Street when the Seasoned Farmhouse proposed a second business, a baking/flower school across the street from Whetstone Library, it had to be approved by the CAC since the urban commercial overlay said that that area should all be residential. Now, the house that was there was in a nasty shape. And the new commercial development would fit in with the style of the local residential neighborhood. In the end, the CAC approved the request (the vote was close), but in so doing went beyond what the existing plan called for. So, were they wrong to do that because, you know, they have this neighborhood plan, which they ignored?

    Finally, and this is a problem in several areas of Clintonville, I don’t know what’s meant by getting “a grasp on the Indianola corridor before it gets away from them permanently.” Indianola north of North Broadway is a disaster for extended stretches. This extended stay project is in an industrial wasteland. What would anyone hope to go in there? A museum? Another pool?

    #1117734
    Ned23
    Ned23
    Participant

    …I’m curious, too, how the CAC has been dropping “the ball on implementing a coordinated plan for Indianola Avenue.” How does the Commission implement the neighborhood plan? It can’t make its own projects. Rather, it has to respond to development opportunities as they arise…

    They ‘dropped the ball’ by scaring the developers away from trying to work with them. They send inconsistent messages to developers about what they want. They should have had a solid plan and followed it and consistently approved projects that for better or worse met the plan goals.

    For example, if Olypmic Pool proposes an attractive no-setback mixed-use project that’s follows “the plan,” then work to make that happen. Otherwise, the next developer is going to say “screw their plan, let’s just find a loophole” and you get this scattered single-use mess instead.

    #1117747

    Nancy H
    Participant

    Columbus actually needs some extended stay hotels closer to the downtown area, for everything from visiting professors at OSU, newly transplanted business executives, guest artists at the symphony and ballet, to traveling theater troupes.

    When Victorian Gate first opened in the Short North, about 25% of the units were used like an extended stay hotel. Since my retail shop was across the street, and the kitchens in the units were minimally furnished, I got to know a number of the short term residents. In addition to the above mentioned assortment of tenants, there were any number of European families staying there for a month while visiting family who lived in a small nearby apartment, or their child was attending OSU.

    #1117757
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Columbus actually needs some extended stay hotels closer to the downtown area, for everything from visiting professors at OSU, newly transplanted business executives, guest artists at the symphony and ballet, to traveling theater troupes.

    There’s a legit one in the works on Main Street:

    https://www.columbusunderground.com/home2-suites-hotel-columbus-bw1

    And a big renovation wrapping up at this one:

    https://www.columbusunderground.com/residence-inn-gay-street

    #1117767

    ohbr
    Participant

    it had to be approved by the CAC since the urban commercial overlay said that that area should all be residential. Now, the house that was there was in a nasty shape. And the new commercial development would fit in with the style of the local residential neighborhood. In the end, the CAC approved the request (the vote was close), but in so doing went beyond what the existing plan called for. So, were they wrong to do that because, you know, they have this neighborhood plan, which they ignored?

    I assume you’re maybe arguing that the Commission should set a plan and stick to it?

    Yes. exactly yes. If you’re going to spend so much time and money in developing a neighborhood plan, why ignore it? It’s not that the commission should set a plan. They already have one. It’s that they should follow it. We’re not necessarily just talking about height or design variances. We’re talking about the actual function of specific plots of land. It’s bad precedent to have an area marked as residential and then allow commercial because the current home isn’t living up to a particular standard. What’s to stop a developer from taking a home or two IN the neighborhoods and doing the same? Flip it, if you refuse to follow a plan commercial and residential density, why should a developer even bother trying to stick to the plan? Which as Ned23 points out, may be the case.

    I guess Clintonville could probably just scrap the neighborhood plan and take everything as a case by case, but stop complaining when it’s not what you want when very few precedents have been set to stick to the neighborhood plan and that is where I agree with Ned23 about dropping the ball. However, you are right in that the CAC is not the developer so they can only be responsive.

    I wonder how long it takes for the CAC to ask for a moratorium on construction and demolition like the UAC wants to

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