Council to weigh in on apartments


On Wednesday, the Delaware Planning Commission approved Metro Development LLC’s final development plan for a 240-unit apartment complex planned for construction on 24 acres located north of U.S. Route 36/state Route 37 and south of Bowtown Road in the city of Delaware. The plan will be reviewed by Delaware City Council for final approval.

The 240 units, named “Seattle House Apartments,” would be divided into 10 three-story buildings and would include 60 one-bedroom and 180 two-bedroom units. The size of the apartments would range from 678 to 933 square feet. Amenities included in the development would consist of a clubhouse and pool, as well as an outdoor grill.

Features of the clubhouse would include 24-hour emergency service, a professional cardio center, a gaming center, and a resident office space consisting of desktop computers, printers and scanners.

Joe Thomas, of Metro Development, said the expected target yearly income for residents is $40,000 for one-bedroom units and $75,000 for the two-bedroom units. He added the expected cost to rent would range from $900 to $1,200 a month.

Last September, Delaware City Council approved the rezoning of the land, a conditional use permit, and the preliminary development plan for the Seattle House development. The land had been zoned R-6 (Multi-Family Residential District) and B-3 (Community Business District). With the addition of the conditional use permit, the developer was successful in getting a Planned Mixed Use Overlay District (PMU) approved.

Delaware Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said he expects city council to hear three readings of the ordinance before it is voted on. The first reading will take place at Monday’s meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m in the city council chambers of City Hall.

While Metro Development has been successful thus far in getting the development closer to construction, the plan has not been without criticism, particularly from some members of city council.

Specifically, during the readings for the preliminary development plan last fall, Councilman George Hellinger cited the development not meeting the minimum requirements as stipulated in the R-6 base district code.

Included in those requirements is a building height no taller than 35 feet, a maximum unit density of 10 units per acre, and minimum sizes of 800 square feet for one bedroom and 950 square feet for two bedrooms. The current proposal has building heights set at 42 feet, with square footage ranging from 678 square feet for one bedroom and 933 square feet for two bedrooms.

Additionally, the code calls for 100 percent of the material used to come from natural sources. The proposed plan includes less than 50 percent of the material coming from that of a natural resource.

During the September reading for the preliminary development plan, Hellinger said granting a PMU typically means the city is looking for additional benefits to the site from the developer. In this case, however, he said all he can see are negatives.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller added, “We have minimums for a reason, and this is very concerning to me, that we would build it taller, shove more (units) in than our code allows, make the units even smaller than the minimums we have set, and then have less than 50 percent of natural materials. Like Mr. Hellinger, I am wondering who this is benefiting, other than the developer. Because I certainly can’t see it benefiting the people who would live there, and I can’t see this benefiting Delaware.”

Hellinger, Keller, and Councilman Chris Jones ultimately voted against approving the preliminary development plan, but it passed by a vote of 4-3.

The Seattle House Apartments did receive the backing of prominent members of the community, including Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce President Holly Quaine and Jim Gill, the owner of Chesrown Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. Gill pointed out Metro Development’s track record, calling them “well-established” and saying they have a “history of offering quality products at competitive prices.”

By Dillon Davis

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Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.

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