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Apartment complex up for May vote

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A proposal to annex and rezone land planned for a luxury apartment complex on the city’s west side will be considered by the Columbus City Council in May.

Redwood Acquisitions, an Ohio developer, wants to build 130 single-story apartments near Carr Hill Road and Morgan Willow Trace. Named The Flats of Columbus, the apartments are planned behind Menards in the Columbus Commons commercial development.

The Columbus City Plan Commission is recommending that the city annex the 23.2 acres into the city and rezone the property from agricultural to multifamily residential.

The Flats proposal has been delayed since February after nearby property owners said they were concerned about drainage, stormwater, possible trespassers and the number of trees developers might need to remove to build the complex.

The trees are located on a hill about 50 feet behind the apartments and separate the apartment property from nearby single-family homes.

Russell Brown, a Redwood Acquisitions representative, said the company would discourage trespassing by building a three-rail open fence behind the apartments.

The commission changed requirements for rezoning that would have limited the number of trees that could be removed to make way for the apartments. Instead, any trees removed by the developer during construction must be replaced, said Jeff Bergman, City of Columbus and Bartholomew County planning director.

City engineer Beth Fizel told plan commission members that the development would not negatively impact the water table or drainage in the area. She met with neighboring property owners and the developers after the February plan commission meeting.

Fizel said the city has no plan to extend stormwater sewers to that area, but the engineer’s office is mapping out stormwater drainage needs, and the property could be added to future plans.

Jim Daily and his family, who run Daily’s Farm Market off Jonathan Moore Pike, brought up the stormwater issue at the first meeting in February. They asked city officials to consider the continuing effects of allowing development to inadequately deal with storm runoff in this area.

The Columbus Crossing businesses use retention ponds to corral stormwater runoff; Menards and the nearby Charwood Suites each have one. But Daily said it’s not enough to stop the stormwater when combined with the high water table in the area and the sandy soil.

With the current development, Daily said water stands on portions of his rented farm fields, delaying and sometimes even preventing planting of about 40 to 50 acres. Because of the high water table, the retention ponds fill quickly, and there is no other place for the water to go other than the lower-elevation farm fields.

Daily said he plans to keep working with the Fizel to find a way to get a stormwater sewer installed in the area near the development.

What’s next?

The plan commission’s action on the Flats of Columbus will go before the City Council who will decide on annexing the land and rezoning it.

If approved, Redwood Acquisitions LLC will have to submit a site plan to the city planning department.

If the plan for the Flats is approved by the city planning department staff, developers can build the apartment complex.

City Council will meet May 7 at 6 p.m. in council chambers in city hall at 123 Washington St.

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