Zoning change vote fails in Worthington City Council

WORTHINGTON - The second reading of a proposed zoning change near the Glenwood Heights addition across from the Olson Park Campground did not go through on Monday night during the Worthington City Council meeting. A successful second reading requires a 4/5 vote by council, and Monday's vote was 3-2, with Councilors Alan Oberloh and Chad Cummings opposed.

The zoning change was under consideration by request of Midwest Sustainable Construction LLC, who had proposed putting up two 27 unit apartments and an assisted living/daycare center. Nearby neighbors expressed concern regarding traffic and safety, but the biggest worry seemed to be what would happen if the proposed high-end market rate apartments ended up being subsidized housing in the future.

The council has asked city administrator Steve Robinson to look into what kind of covenant or restrictions could be put on the development to prevent housing based on income in that location. Robinson reported last week that the DEED grant tied to this development only held the market rate qualification to a 10-year term, and after that, owners were free to do what they wished.

Both Oberloh and Cummings reported being contacted by a number of people since the first reading of the zoning change, and most were against the development. Cummings stated he spoke with developers and home builders, who also agreed that the placement of the proposed development was not ideal.

Councilor Amy Ernst was for the development, which would reportedly have come with 149 daycare openings - something the city of Worthington needs badly. According to the developers, the day/care assisted living aspect would have been a phase 2 or 3 addition. Councilor Mike Harmon seemed a little more hesitant, but said he would support the project.

Mayor Mike Kuhle, who would only vote in the event of a tie, did not express whether he was for or against the proposed development, although he did say these particular plans had three elements the city needed - market rate housing, daycare and assisted living. He added that wherever the development went, there would be push-back.

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