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Residents Voice Opposition To A Pair Of Short North Development Plans

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Columbus City Council tonight is expected to approve two pieces of legislation that would pave the way for a pair of controversial developments in the Short North. In one deal, the city gives up nearly 2 million capital dollars and a 41-meter parking lot for a six-story commercial office and residential building at the White Castle property in the 900 block of North High Street that will include more than 200 parking spaces. Borror Properties will repay the city the capital dollars. The city is also giving the project  a 75 percent, 10-year tax abatement. The same tax abatement goes to a development a few blocks away. The city will lend 1.25 million capital dollars and agree to give its 45-parking-meter surface lot in the 700 block of North High Street to the Wood Companies and partner Schiff Capital Group to build an 11-story office, residential and retail building with 80 private parking spots that is connected to a 240-space parking garage near the corner of Lincoln and Pearl. The city also gives up the 450 thousand dollars a year in revenue the two parking lots generate. Several residents went to City Council last week when the legislation was first introduced to speak against the measures. They say the Short North is thriving, and thus the developers who often contributed to the campaigns of elected city leaders don't need tax breaks. They also say the plans for the two developments fail to meet guidelines for parking and building heights set in the city's development plan for the neighborhood. Victorian Village resident Bill Wood cited these issues in speaking against the plans for the White Castle property.

Curtis Jewel owns a property just south of the other development, and says he's had to hire an attorney and engineers to protect his property.

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Diane Lambert works in the Short North and says the Wood Company development in particular does not align with city guidelines.

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The city says the legislation is designed to get more non-hospitality businesses into the Short North, and ease the area's congested parking situation. A 2014 city study of parking in the area recommended teaming up with developers to add public parking.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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