October 24, 2017 10:41:25 AM
A contentious dispute over building permits on a Southside lot in downtown Columbus has been put to rest.
Kenny Frye, owner of Frye Tile, has applied for a building permit to construct two single-family homes on a lot at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street South. As of Monday afternoon, he had turned everything but floor plans over to City Building Inspector Kenny Wiegel.
Frye had initially planned to build townhouses on the site, a plan which many Southside residents actively opposed because they would have been multi-family dwellings.
"It was sort of my choice to not build the townhouses on it," Frye said. "And just maybe make the neighborhood feel better about having single-family instead of the multi-family housing, which would have been very nice. It would have been equal to what I'm building now. But I think everybody's happy now."
Frye appeared before the city zoning board in July to ask for a variance for the project to allow him to build closer to the street.
About 60 Southside residents also attended the meeting to protest the entire project. Another 185 residents signed a petition submitted to the city requesting the lot be rezoned from multi-family residential (R-3) to single-family residential (R-1) -- which would disallow the townhouses.
At the vanguard of the charge was Edwina Williams, who lives in the house next to Frye's property. Williams claimed the townhouses were a threat to her privacy and property value, so she appealed the zoning board's decision to grant Frye the variance.
"We just felt like it would be a better situation for the neighborhood if it were a different kind of project, if it were different kind of houses," she said. "We wanted something that would blend in with our neighborhood."
Wiegel said with Frye's new building plans, Williams has withdrawn her appeal.
"Everything I think has simmered down now," Wiegel said. "(Williams) submitted a letter, signed it, but the release is basically contingent upon Mr. Frye building the two single-family dwellings. She has looked at what Mr. Frye is proposing to build. She is satisfied."
Williams said the new building plan "makes the Southside neighborhood happier."
"We're just sorry we had to go through that, but it was best for our neighborhood," she said.
As of right now, Frye's plans are to build a one-story home and a two-story home, the smaller of which will have a carport, he said. He hopes to start construction within a week.
"We should be able to start with some dirtwork and ... that kind of stuff," he said. "Probably within three weeks we should have a slab on the ground and start framing a house up.
"I never have bought a piece of property and had to go through a lot of folks to build what I want to build on it," he added. "In the end, I still could have built what I wanted to. But it worked out. I think it probably worked out for everybody."
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