Big housing development in the works for Canal Winchester

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The developer of Canal Cove is hoping to turn nearly 80 acres of farmland along Lithopolis Road between Hayes and Oregon roads into Middletown Farms with homes starting at more than $300,000.

The property was initially annexed into Canal Winchester in February 2005. A portion of the property was zoned exceptional use (EU), while the remainder was zoned planned residential district (PRD).

Westport Homes, the applicant in a zoning request, is asking for a two-part action—rezone the 11.9 EU parcel to PRD and approve the preliminary development plan and development text for the entire site.

The plan, as presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission last spring, included 117 traditional, single-family homes and 58 “lifestyle” homes geared to empty nesters—with a separate homeowners association overseeing lawn maintenance on smaller lots.

During a May 14 commission hearing, a laundry list of items of concern was provided to commission members by city staff.

At the close of the hearing, commission members voted against recommending council approve both requests.

On Aug. 6, during a council public hearing regarding Westport’s appeal of the commission vote, commission Chairman Bill Christensen said there were still many items that needed to be addressed.

Canal Winchester City Council members also had questions regarding garages, lot sizes and open space.

Councilwoman Jill Amos told Westport zoning attorney Tom Hart and company division President Jack Mautino that empty nesters might be interested in smaller yards now, but what about the future?

“They’re not putting much space between these homes,” said Amos on Aug. 6. “I’m not sure in 15 to 20 years that’s what people will want.”

Hart and Mautino were back at the Aug. 20 council work session with a revised plan. The ordinance approving the zoning changes for Middletown Farms was up for a second reading during the regular council meeting following the work session.

“We did hear you all and made some significant changes to the plan,” said Mautino.

The 58 empty nester home sites were eliminated from the development and lot widths increased for the single family home parcels. Over 22 acres is devoted to open space, which is 35 percent of the development and well over the required 20 percent.

“We’ve lessened the density and there is more space between homes,” Mautino said.

Price points for the larger home sites start in the $350,000 range. Front porches are at least 100 square feet and garages are either flush with the porch or slightly set back from the porch threshold.

“This is down considerably (lot number) from what we proposed initially,” said Mautino.

The rezoning ordinance for Westport’s pair of requests is up for a third and final reading on Sept. 4.

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