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City Wants Dismissal of Lawsuit Trying to Stop Apartment Complex

Kent's law department filed a dismissal motion in the lawsuit filed by two residents trying to stop the 596-bed 'Province at Kent' student apartments

Kent needs more apartments aimed at serving students of .

At least, that's one argument being made in a legal fight over a 596-bed complex planned for South Lincoln Street.

On Friday, the city responded to , Marc Kirby and Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, who want to stop construction of the .

In essence, the Kirbys want to overturn decisions by and the that created a new residential overlay district allowing the complex in an area of the city zoned R-3, which doesn't allow as dense a project as the developer, Edwards Communities Development Co., is planning.

In the city's response, Kent Law Director Jim Silver wrote that council approved the overlay district "to remedy a fundamental problem that the city was facing: a housing shortage for students attending Kent State University," according to court documents.

The Kirbys, who bought their High Street home in 2000, point to the Kent Bicentennial Plan as one part of their argument as to why the apartment complex should not move forward.

In their initial complaint, the Kirbys cited one aspect of the bicentennial plan that identifies goals laid out for their neighborhood, which is defined as the "Franklin District" in the 2004 document. Among the goals spelled out for the neighborhood in the bicentennial plan is to "encourage university student housing to be less invasive into the neighborhoods."

In the city's 14-page response to their complaint, Silver noted the bicentennial plan does not carry the force of law.

"It simply summarizes 'a list of aspirational goals that reflect the values of the Kent community' with respect to sustainable development in the future," according to court records.

Both the Kirbys' initial civil complaint and the city's response are attached to this story.

The developer has already obtained approval of its site plan from the planning commission and approval of the only variances needed for the project from the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals. And they recently closed on some of the property needed for the project.

It's unclear when the case, first filed June 22, will be heard by a judge or jury.

Pat August 02, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Don't back down with this law suit--if KSU wants more housing have them build on the campus and stay out of our neighborhoods!
Barbara Ross August 02, 2011 at 05:59 PM
"reflect the values of the Kent community". HUH....what values? First they allow eviction of 250 senior citizens, who I am sure pay more in taxes than any student ever will, and now they are INVADING private homes/properties. Shame on the City of Kent for allowing Kent State University to run rampant thru the town. The students make a mess of a town & when they graduate, they split. Why would they want to stay in Kent as tax-paying adults when they know they will get ran-out by more student housing......I HOPE YOU STICK TO YOUR LAWSUIT. IT IS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE.
Chris (Kit) Myers August 02, 2011 at 06:03 PM
The City of Kent approved this project without going through its zoning procedures. What kind of crap is that? The council members who approved this should be ashamed... but they aren't.
Michael Pacifico August 03, 2011 at 03:13 PM
I am not convinced that Kent State does not have enough housing for its students. The statement alleging the need is treated as matter-of-fact. As one who has lived in Kent since graduating from the University in 1970, I have seen a major proliferation of student housing without the concurrent growth in Student enrollment. I live in a neigborhood that houses students as well as home owners and rentals to students are not being filled as they were years ago. Did the planning commision and City Council act on the facts or were they persuaded by some other means, possibly developer pressure?
Robin Anderson August 03, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Should public universities even be allowed to mandate that their freshmen class, within certain restrictions, live on campus? If the rental housing of any students were left entirely to the private sector, said rental housing would be contributing to the provision of the City of Kent's city services via the property taxes paid. The housing of seniors in the area could be addressed through the use of Federal/State grants by a developer targeted for same, an example of which would be some of those most recently proposed and started in Cuyahoga Falls.

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