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Neighbors to Weigh in on Large Mixed-Use Proposal in Worthington

Brent Warren Brent Warren Neighbors to Weigh in on Large Mixed-Use Proposal in WorthingtonAll renderings via Lifestyle Communities.
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Attendance is expected to be good for tonight’s meeting on a development proposal for the 41-acre United Methodist Children’s Home site, which sits directly across High Street from the Worthington Municipal Building and just a few blocks north of that city’s historic downtown.

The proposal, from Lifestyle Communities, calls for a mixed-use district along High Street featuring office space and apartments, another section of for-sale townhomes and small detached homes, and a number of large single-family homes toward the back of the development. Green space would provide a buffer for Tucker Creek, which runs along the southern border of the property.

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The plan follows guidelines laid out in the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which was updated in 2014 to include recommendations for the site based on a series of neighborhood meetings held when the United Methodist Church was again discussing plans to sell it.

That document describes the development of the site as “a rare opportunity for Worthington to experience redevelopment on a visible and sizable site near the heart of Worthington.”

Whether Worthington can follow the lead of other area suburbs (like Upper Arlington and Dublin, among others) and develop a new urban and walkable neighborhood within their city limits will depend largely on the ability of Lifestyle Communities to craft a plan that meets the city’s goals while not being too objectionable to existing Worthington residents.

Although Worthington has its share of apartments, and has even seen some multi-family infill (the Heights at Worthington Place added nearly 200 units to what was previously a portion of the mall’s parking lot), the UMCH site’s prominent location – and the fact that it abuts single-family housing on two sides – has translated into a high level of scrutiny from concerned neighbors.

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A group called the Worthington Alliance for Responsible Development has been closely involved in discussions on the future of the parcel. The group sent a letter to Lifestyle Communities in April of this year outlining some of their concerns, including the number of apartments proposed for the development. Preliminary plans called for approximately 350 apartments, 200 townhomes and small detached houses, and about 15 large single-family homes.

Lifestyle will present the latest, detailed plans for the development at the meeting tonight, which will begin at 6:30pm at the Worthington Education Center, 200 East Wilson Bridge Road.

For more information, including opportunities to submit feedback on the proposal, visit www.umchdevelopment.com.

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