$11M apartment complex rejected by Springfield planning board

7:00 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 Politics
A 60-unit apartment complex is being proposed at the long vacant former Schaefer Middle School site on North Burnett Road. MICHAEL COOPER/STAFF

A local planning board recently rejected a rezoning application for an $11 million, 60-unit, low-income apartment complex being proposed on the east side of Springfield, but the plan can still be approved by the Springfield City Commission.

FIRST REPORT: $11M apartment complex proposed at former Springfield school site

Indianapolis-based TWG Development LLC wants to rezone a nearly three-acre property at 130 N. Burnett Road, the former Schaefer Junior High School that was demolished by its owner, the Springfield City School District, in 2005.

At the Dec. 11 hearing, the board recommended denial of the application because more than a dozen residents spoke out against the plan, Planning, Zoning and Code Administrator Stephen Thompson said.

“There were a lot of people against the proposal at the meeting and I think the board took that into consideration when they voted,” he said.

The application will be heard by the city commission on Jan. 30. The commission will likely vote on the rezoning two weeks later at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Springfield city staff has recommended approval of the rezoning, according to public documents. The developer will have to apply for a conditional use permit if the rezoning is approved because it’s planned to be a three-story building, Thompson said.

RELATED: Springfield planning board delays vote on proposed $11M apartments

The complex was originally proposed at a different site, but staff believed the old Schaefer site may be more appropriate, he said.

Several residents were upset with the proposal, believing low-income housing would affect the neighborhood, including traffic, Thompson said. The planning board originally heard the application on Nov. 13, but residents who attended the meeting were upset because they weren’t notified of the meeting. The city notifies people who live within 200 feet of a proposed site, but some argued they should have been notified of the proposed plan.

The application says the proposal will not be section 8 housing, according to public documents.

Economic growth and new jobs have created a demand for housing in Springfield, the application said. The Ohio Housing Needs Assessment also shows the Clark County market is under-served for families, developers said.

The developer wants to rezone the site to a residential district. If the rezoning is successful, the developer plans to seek state housing credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to fund the construction next year. If approved, construction will begin in 2019 with an expected completion date in April of 2020.

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The district is selling half of the former property that has sat vacant since 2005 for $200,000, meaning a portion of the current green space will buffer the proposed apartment complex and the current Schaefer Middle School, district officials said.

The three-story building will include 60 units with open floor plans, walk-in closets, in-unit washers and dryers, a fitness room and a community room, according to the application. The plan calls for 15 one-bedroom apartments with about 750 square feet as well as 39 two-bedroom units with an average of 950 square feet and six three-bedroom units with about 1,300 square feet.

The rent will be based on annual salaries between about $13,000 and $36,000.

Neighborhood Housing Partnership is also developing a $9 million senior living facility nearby at the former Community Hospital site.

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