By Katelyn Sattler
The Obetz Planning and Zoning Commission voted to approve the final development plan for the former Younkin property.
The tentatively named Buckstone development on the former Younkin farm, located near the intersection of Lockbourne and Rathmell roads, was before the Planning and Zoning Commission on April 13. It is a proposed upscale development of 242 single family houses with 14 to 15 acres of open space, and a playground.
The development will have walkable paths, a swim club that will be available for all Obetz residents to use, and a park.
Nothing had changed since the preliminary development plan was approved by the commission. There are still plenty of open spaces owned by both the city and the Home Owners Association.
The landscaping, lighting, and signage were intentionally left out because Obetz hired Joe Looby, Landscape Architect with EMH&T, to design those three elements, which will be submitted later once the city defines what it wants. Those elements for developments for Buckstone on all three farms, Younkin, Warner, and Wilburn, will be designed to look the same so Buckstone will have a unique identity.
At issue with the development is the 170 proposed 50-foot lots within the development. There will also be 60-foot and 70-foot lots mixed together with the 50-foot lots and one street is exclusively designed with 50-foot lots.
Planning and Zoning Commission member Dan Raver asked about the width of the roads from curb-to-curb and was told it’s 26 feet face-to-face with a 60-foot right of way. Raver is concerned that driving through the development would be difficult for people who buy houses there.
He “gets this complaint all the time from people trying to get through the streets,” citing parking in Butler Farms as an example.
The difference is that the streets in Butler Farms are smaller and parking is allowed on both sides of the street, but parking will be on one side of the road only in the new development.
Obetz Law Director Gene Hollins said, “Parking is on one side of the street, which is the typical width. Everyone has a two car garage and two more parking spots in front of the garage. That’s four parking spots per residence. The problem is that people use their garage for storage. Four spots for a family seems reasonable.”
Added Obetz Community Services Director Stacey Boumis, “I think it’s harder if you go into a neighborhood and say all of a sudden that there’s only one side parking. It would really upset the neighborhood of Butler Farms where they talked about getting rid of all on-street parking because people bought their homes thinking that parking would be on both sides.
If people buy into this neighborhood knowing parking is on one side of the street, it won’t be a problem. Our code is the same as all the other codes when it comes to parking.”
Hollins said one issue in some neighborhoods is that people are parking in front of the mailboxes. That shouldn’t be a problem here because, “We have almost condo-like centralized mailboxes in this neighborhood.”
Mayor Angela Kirk said she understands Raver’s concerns, but “Since the homeowners are purchasing that property, knowing that it’s one-side parking, they are signing up for that.”
Developer Joe Ciminello compared properties that have depreciated in the Northland area to areas like Clintonville that are tighter, have better rules, and are walkable, and have stood the test of time.
“The proximity to the schools is amazing for this development,” said Ciminello. “It’s a lifestyle. We want it to be successful. We’re working with the city to make sure that these homes sell. Right now we’re in the $300,000’s to $400,000’s range, and with every foot of street, you put in another $1,000 or $1,500, and the cost to the end user starts to spiral out of control.”
“Problems exist, and they’re not going to go away. Parking’s a big thing. We have kids or someone else’s kids, but with the majority being smaller lots,” said Raver.
”It’s a trade off with the amount of open space and the amenities that we want. It’s going to be the amount of green space. So they’re a little bit smaller lots, but you have public opportunities for these public amenities,” said Boumis.