COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus residents in a Far East Side neighborhood are making it clear: They do not want a proposed apartment complex to come to the area.
The development would be built at 198 McNaughten Road. The developer wants to turn the location into a 296-unit apartment complex, with neighbors concerned the road wouldn’t be able to handle the added traffic.
“We just don’t need another accident there,” one resident said at Tuesday’s area commission meeting. “You put more cars on an already crowded road, there’s going to be accidents. No one can say there won’t be.”
Speaker after speaker, all who live around McNaughten Road…all speaking out against the proposed complex.
“All of these issues everybody is expressing are all valid and true and I really don’t think we need this development happening,” said another resident.
The site of the development is across from the fire station on McNaughten Road. Several neighbors said they would be more open to condominiums or single-family homes being built on the land. Even more said the road can’t handle the kind of traffic that would come from an apartment complex of that size.
“Traffic is a huge, huge concern and it has just been steadily increasing over time,” said resident Colleen Nissl.
Some neighbors also brought up an incident from September 2019.
“We had a child hit and run,” one neighbor said, while another said, “even a little child was walking to school one morning and got ran over by a car, so, you know, we don’t need all the extra traffic.”
The child they’re talking about is 11-year-old Lizzie Robertson Rutland, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash as she was walking to her bus stop on McNaughten Road. Her great-grandmother used to live on the road and said she still travels it often and worries about the apartment development as well.
“It’s just not safe, it’s just not safe,” Sharon Robertson said. “It’s too busy, too much congestion. They’re not prepared with sidewalks, lights.”
The developer’s lawyer Mike Shannon said the complex would not bring the traffic neighbors are worried about.
“Our traffic engineers beg to differ, and the city of Columbus has the ultimate say with their engineering department,” he said.
Shannon also said the development would help some problems the city is facing.
“I understand these peoples’ concerns, but everybody needs to understand housing is becoming an infrastructure issue in this town,” he said. “And it’s got to come from somewhere and these people say not in their backyard. I’ve heard it before and hopefully, we can work it out.”
Columbus City Council would need to approve a zoning change for the project to ever become a reality, and there are still several steps before council will even make that vote.