Council wants infrastructure addressed before approving more development

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Grove City Council has postponed legislation pertaining to a large housing development.

After much discussion at a recent meeting, the council delayed a vote on the rezoning of 144 acres located north of State Route 665 and east of State Route 104. The petitioner, Pulte Homes, has requested a zoning change from single family to planned unit development. The development plan for the project, Communities at Plum Run, was also postponed.

According to Jim Hilz, who was on hand representing Pulte Homes, the plan is to build a residential subdivision consisting of 266 single-family lots and 94 condominiums. There would also be a multi-use path, a playground, and open space.

Several community members spoke at the meeting and encouraged council to vote against the housing development.

John Riley, who lives near the proposed development, said he enjoys the wildlife surrounding his property and believes the subdivision would severely disturb those animals. He said that property should be kept as green space or expanded as a part of Scioto Grove Metro Park.

“I urge you to protect this special piece of land and all the wildlife that lives among the stream and rolling hills,” said Riley.

Eric Jackson said he lives 700 meters from the proposed development.

“People feel like you guys are shoehorning more and more people in every chance you get,” he told council members.

Jackson and another resident David Ott believe there are safety concerns regarding more traffic along the roadways. Ott presented council with a petition including signatures of more than 100 people who oppose the development.

Hilz said Pulte Homes completed a traffic study.

“Our traffic study was approved by Grove City and ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation). The traffic will increase, with or without Plum Run, due to growth,” said Hilz.

Based on the traffic study and requirements by city officials, Pulte agreed to contribute funds to an ODOT speed study of State Route 665. They have also been required to install seven turn lanes near the development.

“All of these off-site road improvements will cost about $3 million,” said Hilz. “We’ve met all of council’s requirements. We will be meeting with the city and ODOT to discuss road improvements. We want to be part of the traffic solution.”

Council president Ted Berry said the only way the traffic issues along the state routes will be addressed is with funding help from private developers and government agencies.

Most of the citizens who spoke against the project at the meeting were not Grove City residents; they live in Jackson Township. Councilman Roby Schottke urged those residents to contact the township trustees so they could work with the state to help address the traffic issues along 104 and 665.

“The state has allowed 665 and 104 to languish, “said Schottke. “The state of Ohio is negligent in what they’re doing to you folks in Jackson Township and the city of Grove City by not lowering the speed limit.”

He added to the crowd, “I understand where you are coming from. You bought out in the country. You wanted country and now the city is coming to you.”

The rezoning and development plan were postponed so the developers, along with city staff, could meeting with ODOT and discuss the infrastructure. City leaders also would like to meet with township officials regarding the issues.

Councilwoman Christine Houk said this is a multi-jurisdictional conversation and they need to bring ODOT to the table. She said she would like answers regarding the infrastructure before moving forward.

Councilman Mark Sigrist agreed.

“I find it troubling to move forward if the infrastructure can’t handle it,” he said. “We don’t have the answers right now.”

The vote on the two pieces of legislation were delayed until the Dec. 5 meeting or later if the developer requests more time.

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