Westside apartment project hits a curve when neighbors complain

Columbus’ city plan commission has given an unfavorable recommendation to rezoning 20 acres for a proposed new apartment complex near Tipton Lakes on the city’s west side.

About 50 people were at Columbus City Hall on Wednesday to give feedback to city officials about the proposed 288-unit Columbus Place Apartments.

“It’s just too many people,” said Tipton Lakes resident Greg Harter, who has lived at 4721 Winterberry Place for 27 years.

The apartment complex will greatly increase traffic, which has already been growing steadily in the Tipton Lakes area, he said.

Larry Love, who lives across from Columbus Fire Station 5 on Goeller Boulevard, said he sits on his front porch and watches drivers speed by all day. Cars have several-minute delays to turn from his driveway onto Goeller, he said.

Developers need the rezoning to build an eight-building complex on about 20 acres at 4570 Goeller Blvd. and 4451 W. County Road 25S.

The petition sought rezoning of the two parcels to allow for multi-family housing.

Although the plan commission gave an unfavorable recommendation to the rezoning, it voted to recommend that the city annex the two parcels, as well as a third at 4450 Goeller Blvd., which is listed as a part of the project that will remain a single-family residential area that is zoned for agriculture.

The three parcels are surrounded by the city on three sides, said Jeff Bergman, city and county planning director.

Regardless of plans from specific developers, annexing the property would allow the city better control over installation of new infrastructure including roads and sewers, he said.

Residents who spoke before the commission were particularly concerned about a single entrance proposed for the apartment complex off Goeller, which would be within sight of the entrance to Tipton Lakes Boulevard. The developers, represented by Cash Waggner & Associates of Jasper, have proposed an additional emergency entrance to the 4451 W. County Road 25S parcel.

A land-usage study from the city’s planning department points out the proposed entrance on County Road 25S is too narrow to accommodate a full public entry point to the complex. Preliminary drawings of the site plan do not include specific information on how the emergency entrance would be built.

The apartment complex request has been delayed since October, when city officials questioned how traffic patterns might be affected if the complex were built along Goeller.

Strand Associates Inc. completed a traffic study of the area which was presented by Nathan Waggner, a civil engineer and co-owner of Cash, Waggner and Associates, representing the developers.

The study showed an estimated 454 cars travel in the eastbound lane of Goeller and 100 in the westbound lane at peak hours of 7 to 8 a.m. daily. Between 5 and 6 p.m., the traffic on Goeller is 229 cars eastbound and 370 westbound, the study shows.

The study concluded that drivers waiting to turn left from the proposed apartment exit onto Goeller Boulevard would be delayed by 13 to 16 seconds before being able to turn.

By 2025, with the apartment complex in place, the study predicts 553 cars eastbound and 122 westbound in the morning peak hours. In the evening peak hours, the eastbound lane is predicted to have 279 vehicles, with westbound vehicles at 451.

Several plan commission members questioned the accuracy of the study. “Almost everyone, to a person, has said traffic on Goeller is unsafe,” plan commission member Dave Jones said.

“Accidents are destined to happen. There are just too many cars on this road,” said Bob Orben, 1080 Pintail Court, who has lived in the Tipton Lakes area for 25 years.

Norm Jackson, 5182 Timber Ridge Drive, described traffic on Goeller as a nightmare and that creating an entrance to the apartment complex would create a dangerous intersection.

Waggner said his firm is aware of the concerns and is working to resolve them.

“It is in the developers’ best interest to solve these problems,” said Waggner. “But, this is obviously going to generate more traffic. Based on the traffic study, these are still within acceptable levels.”

The plan commission voted 8-1 to recommend the council reject the rezoning proposal — with commission member Sondra Bolte voting no. Commission member Laurie Booher was absent.

After the vote, Waggner said he had no further comment, except that he plans to petition the city council directly about the rezoning.

The Columbus City Council is scheduled to hear the rezoning and annexation request at its Feb. 2 meeting.

What's next

The Columbus City Council will consider rezoning about 20 acres on Goeller Boulevard for a new apartment complex at a 6 p.m. Feb. 2 meeting at City Hall.

The council will also consider annexing three parcels, including two for the apartment complex, at the meeting.

The addresses of the parcels for rezoning are:

  • 4570 Goeller Blvd.
  • 4441 W. County Road 25S

Parcels being considered for annexation are:

  • 4570 Goeller Blvd.
  • 4441 W. County Road 25S
  • 4450 Goeller Blvd.

About the proposal

What: Columbus Place Apartments LLC

Location: About 20 acres at 4570 Goeller Blvd. and 4451 W. County Road 25S, proposed to be rezoned multi-family residential. A third parcel that is part of the project at 4450 Goeller Blvd. is remaining single-family residential and retaining its agriculture zoning, but is part of the request to annex all three parcels into the city of Columbus. The property is on the north side of Goeller about 138 feet east of Tipton Lakes Boulevard in Columbus Township.

Apartment amenities: Up to eight buildings with 36 units per building, including 1- and 2-bedroom units. An office/clubhouse, a business center and a fitness center for residents are also proposed. Washer/dryer connections will be available and laundry rooms offered in common areas of the building.

Rental cost: The apartments would be market rate, with rent ranging between the upper $700 range to $1,000 per month.