Saturday, Feb 24, 2018
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Housing help for UT

Despite some misgivings about density which may require City Council attention, the Toledo City Plan Commission was correct to approve a zoning change that will allow construction of a new apartment complex on the eastern edge of the University of Toledo campus.

Planning commissioners agreed to change the zoning on the 8.5 acre parcel on North Westwood Avenue, presently a UT parking lot, from industrial to multi-family apartment residential.

Subject to City Council approval, the change will allow construction of three buildings with 224 units and 586 bedrooms in configurations of one, three, and four bedrooms each.

Some commissioners worry that 586 bedrooms on 8.5 acres is too many. That's an issue which council's zoning and planning committee will need to examine when it meets Feb. 11 to consider the zoning change.

It's the council's job to review the site plan and consider waivers relating to the number of buildings per lot, maximum heights, driveway widths, and any impact on neighborhoods to the east.

On the whole, however, the project seems worthy. The new apartments should be especially appealing to students in the nearby College of Engineering.

Once an industrial site, the land has been deemed safe for residential living by environmental consultants. The developer, certain no liability exists, has assumed legal responsibility for all of it.

Once most Toledoans get to see the stylish brick complex - plans include quality construction, a 6-foot wall around the premises, appealing landscaping and parking, a washer and dryer in each unit, and a bath for each bedroom - students may find themselves vying with townies to live in the deluxe living spaces.

Toledo's 20/20 Comprehensive Plan targets the site for single-family residential, but planning commission staffers correctly don't consider that the land's best use. They do see student housing on this site an alternative to the Bancroft Hills neighborhood, where residents have tended to be testy about students in their midst, and seem committed to stay that way.

The apartments are also close to the University of Toledo and offer a transition area from industrial zoning to the south and that of single- and two-family dwellings to the north.

This is a residential development that could become an excellent amenity for a university in need of on-campus housing.

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