New student housing still not approved

Kaylee Remington

The Columbus company requesting a rezoning for the area along South Lincoln Street for student housing has yet again approached the Kent Planning Commission.

By the end of the meeting Tuesday night, the planning commission still wasn’t sure what exactly the company wants to do. David Williams, a representative for Edwards Communities, requested that the company come back to the commission on Dec. 7.

Edwards Communities spoke to the planning commission and a room full of concerned residents about the issues they are working on. The company previously held a neighborhood meeting to personally talk to concerned residents about the idea of new student housing being built.

“We didn’t get a big turnout but got some great questions,” said Ryan Szymanski, the representative for the student housing project.

If in the future the company gets an OK from the commission, the company will build 100 one bedroom apartments, eight two bedroom apartments, 72 three bedroom apartments and 66 four bedroom apartments. In addition to the apartments, there will also be 587 parking spaces for the student residents.

The student housing will also have about four acres of open space, which Szymanski said could be used for grass, landscape or forestation.

“We believe the open space will be for the neighborhood and the students,” Szymanski said.

Amanda Ennis, a resident on High Street, has come to the planning commission meetings for Edwards Communities since their first meeting in September and still isn’t OK with the project.

“It’s still an extremely high density development,” Ennis said. “A new plan should be made to solve the problems that have been brought up the last several meetings.”

Another resident, who chose not to disclose his name, said he was afraid his house value would go down.

“I’m dead against any multiple housing,” he said.

Larry Andrews, a resident on High Street, doesn’t want it to change in that area.

“Some of us like the open space. It’s park like,” Andrews said.

Gale Simon, a resident on Morris Road, isn’t so much worried about keeping it an open space, but keeping more people from living near her.

“I want to live in Kent, Ohio, not Kent State University, Ohio,” she said.

Community Development Director Gary Locke’s concerns were different than the residents. He isn’t sure what this project is about anymore.

“I don’t think we heard a lot of new stuff,” he said. “Whether we’re going to be further with this project in the next couple weeks, I don’t know.”

Contact Kaylee Remington at [email protected].