By Andrea Cordle
An apartment complex got the green light from Grove City Council despite the objections from a few council members.
At a recent meeting, with a 3-2 vote, council approved the development plan for Sugar Maple Commons, located south of Holton Road and west of State Route 104.
Aaron Underhill, an attorney representing the developer Treplus Communities, said the 105-unit apartment community is for those aged 55 and older. He said it will be luxury, ranch-unit apartments that are between 1,200 and 1,600 square feet. Rent would range from $1,900 to $2,600 per month.
“It’s a good use for the property and it’s ideal for the city’s changing demographics,” Underhill said.
Underhill said because the units would be catered to senior citizens and empty nesters, there would be less of impact on area traffic. However, traffic was the main reason two council members, Roby Schottke and Ted Berry, voted against the development plan.
“That is a problem that is not going away,” said Schottke.
The councilman said he was concerned about the speed limit and increased traffic along State Route 104.
State Route 104 is controlled by the state of Ohio. It sets the speed limit and determines if and where traffic signals would be located.
Schottke wants city administrators to contact the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to see about lowering the speed limit on the route as well as discuss adding traffic signals where necessary.
Sugar Maple Commons is not the only development plan that has been approved along State Route 104 that could potentially put more vehicles onto the roadway. In March 2019, council signed off on the Farmstead development plan that would build more than 500 housing units at the Farmstead-Hancock property, located on the westside of State Route 104 and east of Hawthorne Parkway.
“This is an example of government causing its own problems,” said Berry. “We keep approving developments with no road improvements.”
According to Mike Keller, who represents Grove City from the engineering firm EMH&T, the city has contacted ODOT about improvements to State Route 104.
“We have an ongoing dialogue with ODOT,” said Keller.
Keller said the new developments would help improve the safety of State Route 104 by having an expanded turn lane at White Road, an added turn lane at Holton Road for Sugar Maple Commons and a turn lane into the Farmstead development.
Still, Berry said this location is not ideal for this type of development.
“The residents said they don’t want it, now we say ODOT needs to fix the road,” said the councilman. “The bottom line is these developments don’t belong in that area.”