City officials acknowledge there is a need for housing in Bryan and Williams County.
But they voiced disapproval Monday for a proposed senior housing development that would be located directly next to an expanding neighborhood with some of the city’s most valuable residential properties.
The Dayton-based St. Mary Development Corporation is looking to bring a 43-unit, three-story rental development to 1200 Center St., directly east of the Greystone subdivision.
The corporation submitted a letter of its intent to the city via certified mail, giving the city 30 days to respond with any comments.
The development would house seniors making at or below 60% of the area median income, which would qualify it for funding through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
Officials were unsure what, if any, impact officials’ comments may have on the project, but City Attorney Rhonda Fisher said it would be reviewed as the agency determines whether or not the company receives funding.
Council members expressed concern that the development would decrease property values at Greystone, where seven new homes are in the process of being constructed.
“I don’t know if I’d want that in my back yard,” council member Judy Yahraus said, later adding, “It would upset me. Those are beautiful homes.”
Council members expressed concerns about the lack of aesthetic appeal of the parking lot, greatly increased traffic and noise as being detrimental to the neighborhood.
However, city officials acknowledged there are really only two places in the city that are currently zoned properly where an apartment building of this nature could be situated.
The other area, in the vicinity of the Bryan Senior Center on South Portland Street, was selected for a similar development in 2019. However, that project fell though when the developer did not get approval for funding.
Mayor Carrie Schlade said she was somewhat hopeful that, if the project does go through, seniors who move to the apartments may sell their current homes, allowing new residents to move into the city and somewhat alleviating the need for more housing.
Outside of discouraging funding for this new development, the city has little recourse to stop the project.
“If the lot is zone properly and there are no variances, there’s not much the city can do,” City Engineer Brian Wieland said.
Council directed Fisher draft a letter in opposition of the project and she asked for them to email her their comments, which she will compile into a letter signed by each of them.
The fifth member of council, John Betts, is an owner of the property in question. When the topic come up for discussion, he publicly announced his conflict and recused himself, physically leaving council chambers until the discussion was completed.
Betts also represents the city ward in which the development is located. Residents who wish to discuss the situation with a council member are encouraged to speak with at-large council member Jim Kozumplik or another council member, rather than Betts.