Council approves plan for condos

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Grove City Council approved legislation that would bring more condominiums for empty nesters to the community.

At the Oct. 17 meeting, council approved the rezoning and development plan for Hickory Creek, located north of Orders Road and west of Southern Grove Drive. The first piece of the legislation changed the zoning code from single family to planned development. The second piece of legislation approved a development plan to allow Pulte Homes of Central Ohio to construct an 81-unit condominium community on 35 acres of land.

According to Jim Hilz, with Pulte Homes, this plan will include detached patio home lots for empty nesters. The development plan also features 12 acres of land that would be set aside for open or green space. Hilz said there will be a multi-use path that runs throughout the community and connects to nearby developments. The community will have a homeowner’s association and condo association in place. The cost of the units will be upward of $400,000.

As part of the legislation, Pulte Homes has agreed to contribute just over $500,000 to the cost of improvements to Orders Road and a waterline extension.

There was one hiccup in the development plan that council addressed.

Council president Ted Berry said he was concerned about the bike path route and the lack of connection in certain areas. According to the proposed plan, the bike path loops around a pond and has north and south connectivity but lacks an east and west connection.

“You spend all this money on a path that goes nowhere,” said Berry. “As a biker, I would never use that path.”

To remedy the issue, council made two amendments to the plan that would direct the developer to put bike path pavement markings on Williamsburg Court and Haley Way, as well as install caution light beacons at Orders Road and Hickory Creek Drive. Council members believe this will allow bicyclists to cross Orders Road safely by alerting drivers that cyclists may be nearby.

Councilwoman Christine Houk asked if there were data that proves the pavement markings, or the caution lights add a layer of safety.

Kevin Teaford, the safety director for the city of Grove City, said he did not have that type of date but said there have been no crash problems (involving cyclists) in the southern part of the city. However, Teaford cautioned that the likelihood of accidents go up with new development that could cause an increase in traffic.

Council also approved (with a 3-2 vote) a preliminary development plan for the Courtyards at Mulberry Run, located at 2110 White Road, near McDowell Road.

This plan would include more than 70 condominiums broken up with 40 lots of the north side of the property and 34 units on the south side of the land. It also includes a clubhouse and space for recreation, like a pickleball court. The cost for the homes would start around $300,000.

Council members Christine Houk and Mark Sigrist voted against the legislation.

Houk said she struggled with the density in that location and said the plan felt like it was “putting a square peg in a round hole.”

The councilwoman also had concerns about the infrastructure on White Road being able to support the extra traffic from this size of a development.

Sigrist said this project was difficult to envision.

“I don’t get the benefit for our city and how it makes our city better,” he said.

The preliminary plan was able to move forward with three votes, however, council members said there are safety issues that would need to be addressed before the final approval.

Councilman Roby Schottke expressed concern regarding traffic into the community. He suggested adding a deceleration lane on White Road into the community. Joel Rhoades, who was in attendance representing the applicant EC New Vision Ohio LLC, said a traffic study was conducted and that study said a deceleration lane was not warranted.

Berry said he had concerns about the crossing to get from the north side of the development to the south side. He asked about adding a traffic signal. Rhoades again said the traffic study did not show the need for a traffic signal.

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