After two months of back and forth between council members and Metro Development, Delaware City Council rendered a decision on the Highpoint Place Apartments complex that had been proposed to be built on roughly 17 acres of land north of Bowtown Road and directly west of the Village Gates of Delaware apartment complex on the city’s east side.
At Monday’s meeting, council voted down the proposal by a 5-2 vote. Because the City of Delaware Planning Commission originally voted against approval of the project in August, a supermajority vote of five favorable votes would have been required in order for the development to proceed.
The proposed Highpoint Place Apartments would have included 160 units split between 80 one-bedroom and 80 two-bedroom apartments over seven buildings. Six of the buildings would have been three-stories tall, or 42 feet high, with the building closest to the existing houses along Bowtown Road only two stories. Amenities proposed included a pool, office space and equipment, a cardio center, and an outdoor grilling space.
Highpoint Place was the second of two proposed apartment complexes by Metro Development. The other — Seattle House Apartments — was approved at the Sept. 24 meeting, despite concerns over the development’s failure to meet the city’s R-6 base district codes.
Those same concerns existed for the Highpoint Place proposal, with Councilwoman Lisa Keller saying at the Sept. 24 meeting, “These are smaller than our code allows; they’re denser than our code allows; they’re taller than our code allows; and they use materials that are less than our code allows. So, it’s like a hit in every direction. And I understand when you come to the city of Delaware and you’re conceiving of a project, you know what our rules and regulations are for that project.
“It just seems like this is just stacked up far too many variances. I’m not against the project specifically, but I am against a total disregard for what our code requires for apartment complexes,” she added.
In addition to code concerns, the potential impact the development would have on traffic along Bowtown Road also weighed heavily on council members and was the biggest reason planning commission voted against approval in August.
While city council never showed support for the Highpoint Place Apartments, many prominent figures and companies in Delaware’s business community did, including Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce President Holly Quaine, JEGS Performance, and Chesrown Chevrolet, Buick and GMC owner Jim Gill.
Former Delaware Mayor Michael Shade underlined that support while speaking to council at the Sept. 24 meeting.
“We have a tremendous need for apartments,” Shade said. “We’ve always invited premier developers to come to Delaware to build single-family houses, and we’ve been very fortunate that those builders have come. Now, we have one of the premier apartment builders in central Ohio … and we’re saying that this plan is not good enough.”
Of the hang-up surrounding traffic impact, Shade added, “Traffic is your problem, not the developer’s problem.”
Although Metro Development failed to gain approval for the rezoning amendment and preliminary development plan, the land is currently zoned for multi-family housing. Attorney Steve Cuckler, who represented the developer in both the Highpoint Place and Seattle House developments, said they will look at all of their options before deciding how to proceed with the land.
Cuckler said he was surprised with the vote in the sense that the business community had shown a great deal of support for the project, as well as the money that would have been generated through the project for infrastructure improvements, particularly for The Point.