$11M apartment site near Kettering Meijer draws residents' concerns

·2 min read

Jun. 23—A planned 50-unit, multi-million-dollar apartment building near Meijer off Wilmington Pike in Kettering is drawing questions from residents who said they weren't notified of the proposal.

Spire Development intends to build Darby Run on five acres behind the big box retailer near Hempstead Landing, a 40-unit housing complex the Columbus business started constructing last year, city records show.

Residents living near the planned three-story Darby Run site met Wednesday night with Kettering officials, who said no public hearings were required for development to gain city approval.

The lack of notification left neighbors "kind of blindsided" after the Kettering Planning Commission this spring approved a lot split of Meijer land that paved the way for Darby Run, said resident Dave Baumann,.

"That's one reason why I feel strongly that in the future that it would be good policy to meet with the neighborhood and let them know what's going on prior to development approval, said Baumann, one of about 20 residents at the meeting.

A change in Kettering's code in the past decade eliminated the requirement for public hearings, allowing such developments to move forward if the met the city's zoning guidelines, officials said.

"We went through a process" involving the code change that included public forums, "and ultimately in 2015 we changed our code," Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said.

The change helped make Kettering "competitive," Schwieterman said, noting that it allowed the city to — using a popular industry phrase at the time — act "at the speed of business."

Both Spire housing projects — co-developed by County Corp. — are general occupancy workforce housing communities receiving 9% Ohio housing tax credits, according to state records.

Darby Run "will affirmatively further fair housing by providing new, high-quality housing in a very high opportunity area with very few remaining developable lots," according to a summary of the proposal filed with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

Total project costs are listed at $11.537 million for Darby Run and $8.284 million for Hempstead Landing, state records show.

The city's commission unanimously voted in April to split the five acres from Meijer's 45-acre lot for the new housing plan. The new lot address is listed as 4300 Hempstead Station Drive, west of Meijer, according to Kettering documents.