Developers drop apartment project

A proposal to develop a 288-unit apartment complex in the Tipton Lakes area, opposed by neighbors for the impact it would have on vehicle and pedestrian safety, has been dropped.

Developers who planned Columbus Place Apartments along Goeller Boulevard have withdrawn their rezoning petition and are not pursuing the project. It had been pending with the city since October, but was canceled Wednesday in a letter to the city’s planning department, city-county planning director Jeff Bergman said.

In the notification, the project’s spokesman, Nathan Waggner, representing Cash Waggner & Associates, Jasper, said the developers and property owners had discussed the proposal and that it was in everyone’s best interest to withdraw. No further reasons were provided.

The Columbus City Plan Commission on Jan. 13 gave an unfavorable recommendation to rezoning the 20 acres at 4570 Goeller Blvd. and 4451 W. County Road 25S for the complex after several Tipton Lakes residents expressed opposition. Developers hoped to have the property annexed into the city of Columbus, and rezone a portion as multi-family residential for the apartment complex.

The apartment complex was proposed as eight buildings of market-rate apartments, which would have rented for between $700 and $1,000 per month. The Tipton Lakes area contains a mix of residential housing types, including several existing apartment complexes within and on the outskirts of the area.

About 50 people attended the plan commission meeting, many saying the increased traffic would create safety issues in the Tipton Lakes area and particularly on Goeller. Residents were particularly concerned that the proposal had only one entrance to the apartment complex off Goeller, which is within the line of sight to the entrance to Tipton Lakes Boulevard.

One of the delays in the city considering the proposal was a request it made for a traffic pattern study for the area. That study showed a slight increase in the number of cars that would be using Goeller between now and the year 2025, but plan commission members questioned whether the study accurately portrayed the safety issues that would be created with increased traffic.

Representatives from the Tipton Lakes Association had attended several plan commission meetings when the Columbus Place request was pending.

In an email to Tipton Lakes residents, Tipton Lakes Community Association Executive Director Staci Likens said it is the association’s goal to stay active in future conversations concerning development in the area.

The main concern for the association was the safety for vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area, Likens said.

The association isn’t opposed to development in the area, but wants the remaining undeveloped acreage in the Tipton Lakes area to be considered in regards to the entire area, not just in a piecemeal manner, she said.

Bergman said his office was closing out the files on the Columbus Place Apartments request and it is no longer on the council’s agenda for the city council’s Feb. 16 meeting.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.