Kent’s Planning Commission denied rezoning amendment

Kaylee Remington

Kent’s Planning Commission denied the rezoning map amendment requested by Columbus’ Edwards Communities Development Company to rezone land along South Lincoln Street last night.

The company’s attorney, David Williams, approached the planning commission before adjournment asking to come back to a public meeting with revised plans based on the resident’s comments. The planning commission accepted.

Edwards Communities Development Company submitted an application to Community Development on Aug. 3 for the rezoning to build new student housing. The zoning of the area is high density, meaning that there is student housing neighboring the area. The company felt that Kent would be a good place to build more apartments considering the increase of students in Kent.

The residents of Kent weren’t OK with the rezoning of the area that neighbors Dartmouth Place Apartments. Their arguments with the proposal came with many concerns like more student traffic, more destruction and more noise.

Larry Andrews, a resident of Kent for 41 years, wasn’t happy with the request.

“It’s just going to increase the pedestrian traffic on our street,” Andrews said during the meeting.

Amanda Ennis, another resident, also wasn’t excited about the rezoning and the development of student housing.

“Frankly, it’s the only green space we have left in the community,” Ennis said.

She said she’s had to pick up trash from students who live around there already like cans, condoms and throw up.

Community Development Director Gary Locke said the public commission has been concerned with the application since it’s arrived to them. The department’s main areas of concern fell into traffic impact, utilities and the affect on the sewer system.

Although the company didn’t ask Kent for any money, Locke was concerned that they don’t know how much the project would eventually cost.

“It’s too much of an open checkbook for the city,” Locke said. “This is the sort of thing that requires some planning.”

Planning Commissioner Peter Paino likes the ideas the company brought, and said it would be great for the city. But, Paino believes when a piece of land is changed to a University District, it “means ‘here’s some land, do whatever you want.’”

“That scares me very much,” Paino said of the uncertainty of the land.

Edwards Communities Development Company will appear again before the planning commission on Oct. 19.

Contact Kaylee Remington [email protected].