Lifestyle Communities v City of Worthington: a decisive win for our fair city!
Of the ten counts in the suit filed by Lifestyles, eight were decided in the city’s favor, one was partially decided in LC’s favor, and one is a “push”.
So what does this mean?
To provide some context, were this a football game, the score would be something like 56 to 3 in favor of our fair city! Award a touchdown and extra point for each of the 8 counts decided entirely in Worthington’s favor and a give a field goal for the single count decided partially in LC’s favor, then total up the score – it’s a very decisive win for Worthington and its residents! The point being that this lopsided score is a clear indication that the presiding judge saw this case as having little or no merit and supports the theory that it was a big developer bullying tactic.
So what’s next?
Going forward, let’s be clear as to what this debate is really about … PCPW is very pro-business and has called for 12 acres of this parcel (the former UMCH property) to be developed commercially. We note this is more acreage that two of LC’s last three proposals. Of the remaining 25 acres, approximately seven are part of the Tucker creek watershed and are off-limits for any type of development.
This debate then really centers on what should happen to the remaining eighteen acres. This is the fundamental question that we can decide – as a community – or cede to an outside developer to decide for us.
The alternatives are quite clear:
- Lifestyle’s approach: over the course of their last three proposals, has been both consistent, and in line with their business model – building between 500 and 700 housing units within these 18 acres, thus leaving but a sliver of this acreage for a couple of small, disconnected greenspaces, and virtually no outdoor amenities.
- PCPW’s vision: to utilize the bulk of these 18 acres for a large, contiguous greenspace that can be built out over time into a dynamic, amenity-rich, community Commons … think of the calm and tranquility of a Schiller or Goodale park, right in the middle of Worthington.
A community Commons is vital for the future of our city and that it can only happen if the city takes control of the development process. Step one is to acquire the former-UMCH property. We then, as a community, can commence a resident-centered development process that suits our needs, our budget and our timeframe.
We are convinced of this approach for two sets of factors:
- Long term value to Worthington: a community Commons, anchored by a significant public greenspace, addresses what is frankly missing from Worthington today: a centrally located open space to relax and recreate; with accessible sports fields; providing ample grounds for art shows, fairs or gatherings; as well as a set of amenities that we, as a community, select and build out over time. We note that in the time span that Lifestyles has submitted its three failed proposals; Hilliard, Dublin, Westerville, New Albany, and Granville have all announced, and are building or expanding, significant new public park lands. Employers, looking at Worthington, have long requested ‘more amenities’, so far from being anti-business this alternative is decidedly pro-business.
- Preventing the significant downsides of ultra-high density residential development: to cite but one statistic, Lifestyles’ multiple proposals translate into a housing density of between 50-100 people per acre within its proposed residential footprint. Compare this to Worthington’s current average of 4.2 residents per acre and the magnitude of what a LC development will do to our city becomes apparent: traffic, school over-crowding, and the ecological impacts of paving over most of 18 acres are – in PCPW’s view – simply unacceptable.
We ask you to take action and help us end this deadlock! Please, write city council today (https://www.worthington.org/Directory.aspx?DID=29) and urge our leaders to initiate acquisition in order to enable resident-centered development, of the UMCH parcel … our crown jewel!
Now is the right time for us to take advantage of this quite favorable judicial ruling and finally move past the decade-old stalemate. In the history of PCPW, there has been no better opportunity for our supporters to take meaningful action and show their support. Imagine the impact if all 1200-plus of you, PCPW’s supporters, let city council know – in no uncertain terms – that we all counting on them to make Worthington Commons a reality!
For additional insights into PCPW’s vision for the former-UMCH property, please review our proposal found on this website.