The proposed Champion Apartments development in Plain City will not be moving forward.
At the packed Monday evening meeting, council voted 4-2 against the ordinance that would rezone property at Perry Pike and U.S. 42 from commercial to multi-family residential effectively stopping the development plans. Council members Sherry Heineman and Shannon Pine voted in favor and Jody Carney, John Rucker, Kerri Ferguson and Darren Lee voted against it.
The ordinance would have rezoned the 8.8 acres behind the Shell station, creating two parcels — one for multi-family and a second facing U.S. 42 that would remain open for commercial use.
The measure came after more than an hour of conversation between council members and concerned residents. Hesitation from residents, most of whom live near the development site, ranged from traffic and safety concerns to suggesting that apartments would simply fit better in another location.
“Most people heading down 42 are going north and the entrance is far enough away from the traffic light that it wouldn’t be helpful,” said resident, Barbara Smith. “With people going in and out of Der Dutchman also, I’m afraid it would be very difficult to cross traffic.”
Other residents speaking at the meeting agreed with Smith’s sentiments, adding that the property would be better left for future commercial development, rather than residential.
Tavern 161 owner, Jason Shumway, disagreed stating that having more residential opportunities in town rather than on the outskirts would entice people to invest more in the community.
“There will never be amenities here without having dollars and revenue spent with uptown businesses,” Shumway said. “We have to understand that money is going to continue to flock away from this village if people have to deal with all this rhetoric and all of these issues and these problems.”
Early on, the village was working with the Kroger Company to put a Fresh Eats market in the area between Shell and Civista Bank. The company pulled the action, however, as part of a corporate-wide cut-back. Champion had also expressed interest in pursuing retail opportunities for the area along U.S. 42 but with the ordinance not passing, the entire 8.8 acres, owned by the bank, will remain commercial land.