By Andrea Cordle
A preliminary development plan to put an apartment complex in Grove City was voted down.
At the April 1 meeting, Grove City Council denied approval for Sugar Maple Commons, which would have been located south of Holton Road and west of State Route 104. Treplus Communities, LLC had proposed to build 105 apartment units at the location for those 55 and older.
“I like the project. I just don’t know if I like it there,” said councilwoman Christine Houk.
Several residents spoke out against the proposal saying the apartments did not fit in with the rural character of the area.
“I like the rural feel of the area and too much development takes that away,” said Angela Streeter.
Other residents cited increased traffic as their main concern about the apartment complex.
Houk said she receives numerous calls from residents who have concerns about traffic along Borror Road, Holton Road and State Route 104.
Aaron Underhill, an attorney representing the developer, said part of the proposal was to realign Holton Road to help ease traffic concerns around the apartment complex. He said the developer would complete a full traffic study and would be open to address issues with the community.
Only three council members were present to vote on the preliminary development plan. Roby Schottke was absent from the meeting and the developer requested that councilman Ted Berry be removed from voting due to comments he made about the apartments.
Stephen Smith, the city’s law director, said Berry did not violate any law or code with his comments and he could vote on the matter, but Berry voluntarily recused himself.
The majority of the remaining council members voted against the proposal. The city’s planning commission also recommended denial of the plan.
Council approved an ordinance to appropriate approximately $668,000 from the county motor vehicle license fund for improvements to Southwest Boulevard between Richard Avenue and Hoover Road.
The improvements will include pavement reconstruction, curb replacement, storm sewer additions, and full replacement of the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Richard Avenue with a proposed roundabout.
The city received a $1.5 million grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission and a $531,500 interest free loan. The county engineer approved the use of the motor vehicle license fund to help fund the local match portion of the project costs. The total project is estimated to cost $2.7 million.
The project is scheduled to start in 2020.
Council approved an ordinance to set aside $76,775 from the community environment fund to plant trees in various city parks.
“We have a tree deficiency,” said councilman Ted Berry.
The councilman said the plan is to add 250 trees at Breck, Westgrove, Henceroth and Fryer parks, as well as in the city’s Town Center.
“We need more shade in our parks,” said Berry.
Not everyone at the council meeting was in favor of the tree plantings.
“Grove City resident Roger Burket said, “I like trees. I don’t like spending $77,000 on them.”
Houk admitted that it is a “hefty price” for trees but said the costs would be covered by a fund specifically for trees.
“I am a fiscal conservative, but I am also a tree hugger,” said the councilwoman.