Letter: Residents should voice concerns on downtown apartment plans

From: Sheryl Nulph


I am writing this letter to call attention to an upcoming meeting of the Columbus Plan Commission on Wednesday, May 8, 4 p.m. at City Hall.

One of the items on the agenda is a proposal from Bloomington-based Rubicon Development for a five-story apartment building at 11th and Washington streets.

This apartment will have 120 units at a rental price of between $1,300-$1,700 monthly, putting it well out of reach of what might be considered affordable housing for so many who are in desperate need of it in our community.

The size and scale of this project is of concern. At five stories tall, it will be as long as, and wider than, a football field. This project will dwarf the surrounding buildings and is inappropriate in size, scope and design for the historic area it will insert itself into. A total of 130-135 parking spaces will be allotted for the 120 units. This is an inadequate amount of parking for 120 units.

The scope of the project will be a strain to the infrastructure of the area. Traffic is already heavy. Storm drains in the area are already prone to flooding. In an area that is already busy with daily traffic, this project will further strain the existing infrastructure.

Rubicon’s plan calls for demolition of the last two historic Charles Sparrell homes in the downtown. The F.T. Crump home (next to the Eagles) will be demolished to accommodate the apartment building. The Overstreet home (former Joe Willie’s) will be demolished purely to provide a site for Rubicon to stage construction of the apartment complex. While the property might be developed at a later date, the sole purpose of the Overstreet home demolition is to provide convenience for Rubicon’s construction. What a sorry excuse for demolition of a historic home.

Is Columbus really in need of another apartment building in the downtown area? Currently there are four apartment buildings within walking distance of the downtown area. None of them are at capacity. An apartment building on Washington Street between Sixth and Seventh streets was given the green light earlier this year. There is no indication that a sixth apartment building of this size and scope is needed in the downtown area. Why give the green light to a project that is 1) not necessary, 2) taxes current infrastructure, 3) is inappropriate in size and scale for the area and 4) demolishes two historic properties to advance an unnecessary objective?

The Rubicon project could get the green light at the Wednesday Planning Commission meeting. I would urge Columbus residents who agree with any or all of my points to make your voices heard at the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday. If you can’t be there in person, take a moment to contact the department at [email protected] to make your feelings known before Wednesday. Don’t let complacency rubber stamp an unnecessary and destructive project.