Large Apartment Complex Proposed for Ohio & Mississippi
A developer is proposing to build 250 apartments in the 16 acre vacant lot along W. Ohio Avenue, just north of the Safeway shopping center at Alameda & Mississippi. It is located south of Foothills Elementary School, west of Green Mountain Townhomes 3 and east of Green Mountain Estates.
Above is a drawing of the proposed apartment complex. The local neighborhood/community group, the Green Mountain Civic Association (GMCA) is seeking to downsize the proposal. Several years ago, there was a similar proposal. At that time the community association was able to negotiate a more compatible plan – 59 patio homes.
Originally this site was zoned for commercial/office use. However in the 2012 city wide modification of the zoning procedures this property was rezoned as M-E-S. Under the new zoning code this means Mixed-Use, Employment, Suburban. This category envisions a multitude of diverse uses that focus on creating jobs. The classic example is a building with retail on the first floor, offices on the second floor and living units on the upper floors. However, in addition to a multi-use employment-based vision statement, the new zoning code lists a wide range of permissible uses, including residential housing.
City staff is claiming since residential housing is one of the permitted uses for M-E-S zones, that the 250 apartment proposal would be permissible. However the Ward 4 Council members (David Wiechman and Barb Franks) agree with the neighbors that the Mixed-Use designation means it cannot be used for only one purpose. Furthermore they note the zoning code language says residential housing is an “ancillary use”. They interpret this to mean residential housing must be a secondary use rather than either the sole or primary use of the land.
In addition to concerns about the traffic impact 250 new dwelling units would have on Alameda and Union, the neighbors are concerned about safety and over-crowding at Foothills Elementary School.