City approves rezoning for new development

The Columbus City Council approved the second reading of two ordinances giving final permission to the rezoning of adjacent properties in north Columbus where a developer says they’re considering a range of housing options.

City officials have indicated the development could be the impetus for further development in the area.

Council members voted 7-0 on both ordinances — the two properties had differing zoning designations previously which is why they were separate legislation.

Council members Frank Miller, R-District 4, and Jerone Wood, D-District 3, were absent.

One ordinance applies to what city documents refer to as the Omega Drive site. The 15 acres are located on the west side of Indianapolis Road, about 500 feet south of its intersection with Paula Drive. This location used to be home to a drive in commercial park that has sat vacant for a number of years, City/County Planning Director Jeff Bergman said. The other ordinance has to do with a 19.2 acre property on the west side of County Road 150W, 300 feet south of its southernmost intersection with Paula Drive.

The applicant, Vision Housing, LLC asked the council to rezone the Omega Drive property from Industrial: General with commitments (I2c) to Residential: Multi-family (RM) and the property to the west from Industrial: Light with commitments (I1c) to RM.

The comprehensive plan’s future land use map identifies both areas as residential, according to a planning staff report.

The Columbus Plan Commission on May 8 forwarded a favorable recommendation on both rezonings, and also approved a replatting of the Omega Drive business park that was contingent on the rezoning.

Vision Housing is also proposing a new street connection from the existing Omega Drive loop that would come from the west and connect with County Road 150W. Vision Housing would make improvements to County Road 150W up to where the pavement runs out at 3863 N. County Road 150W.

The new Omega Drive street connection and improvements to County Road 150W were included as commitments with the council’s approval, along with a commitment for a new sidewalk on the Omega Drive property.

In reviewing some of the decision criteria council members look at, the properties are well served by high volume roads, like U.S. 31 and Indianapolis Road, according to a planning staff report. The area is distant from goods and services so those living in the area would need a car, Bergman said, but the location is beginning to have more access to the bicycle and pedestrian network through the Lowell Road project.

Bergman said the development could lead to other possibilities.

“Discussion in planning commission was how about higher density residential on these properties could be one of the catalysts for more complete development at this location, possibly create the opportunity for some commercial development in bringing those goods and services a little closer to residents here, as well as providing some opportunities to form a larger private open space network, and further complete portions of the bike-ped (bicycle-pedestrian) network that are forming at this location,” Bergman said.

Vision Housing representatives have said that what they ultimately do with the properties will be in part dependent on the results of the city’s first housing study in 12 years.

RDG Planning & Design, the consultant for the study, is slated to present their findings and recommendations in August, city officials have said.