The first step toward site plan approval of a 596-bed apartment complex on South Lincoln Street took place Monday night when the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals approved variances for the project's clubhouse.
Columbus-based Edwards Communities Development Co. got approval of two variances for a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse and leasing office as part of "The Province at Kent" student housing complex.
The clubhouse, considered an accessory building under city code, is subject to a maximum 15-foot height and a minimum 60-foot setback from the road right of way — in this case, Summit Street.
The developer asked for, and received, a 30-foot variance from the right of way setback and a 14-foot variance from the building height to allow the clubhouse to stand 29 feet tall. The zoning board granted both variances unanimously.
Ryan Szymanski, a vice president at the Columbus-based development firm, said they want to build the clubhouse with a "faux" second floor so it fits in with the rest of the two-story houses in the neighborhood. The extended space in the second floor will be unused and created with a larger roof truss, he said, in order to give the cluhouse the look of a two-story building.
Original plans called for a one-story clubhouse.
"This is consistent with what is already there," he said. "Overall, we believe this will create a better streetscape."
As for the close proximity to Summit Street, Kent attorney Dave Williams said allows for a 25-foot setback, but the strict classification of the clubhouse as an "accessory" building forced the variance request.
Zoning board member Paul Sellman said he was impressed with the developer's design of the clubhouse to help it blend in to the neighborhood.
"Building a second floor for aesthetic purposes is a nice touch," he said.
Zoning board chair Diane Werner agreed.
"That says a lot for the project," she said.
The clubhouse will include a game room, fitness center, lounge area, lease offices and storage space for pool maintenance equipment.
The overall site plan for the project is headed to the Kent Planning Commission tonight.