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.