Development projects debated in Grove City

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By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

Grove City Council debated two development projects at the May 7 meeting.

Council voted on a rezoning plan for the Beulah Park property and a development plan to put apartments and condominiums near Orders Road.

With a 4-1 vote, council approved the rezoning of the Beulah Park property. Councilwoman Christine Houk voted against the rezoning plan.

The property is zoned for heavy industry, recreational facilities and single-family residential. The approved rezoning changes it to planned unit development for both commercial and residential use.

According to Pat Kelley, with Grove City Beulah Park Investments, the plan is to create a mixed-use area that includes single-family and multi-family housing. This would include apartments, condominiums and town homes, as well as a 175-bed assisted living facility. A preliminary development plan also proposes a 29-acre community park with smaller parks or open spaces throughout the property. There will also be space for commercial development.

Even though council approved the rezoning plan, the development for that site is not a done deal.

According to Donald Plank, attorney for Grove City Beulah Park Investments, there will be 10 development plans for each subarea of the property. Council will have to sign off on each development plan.

“This rezoning is a step in the right direction,” said Plank.

Councilman Steve Robinette cautioned the developers that his vote is strictly for the zoning.

“You may get the zoning you want, but may not get all the other pieces,” Robinette said.

Councilman Jeff Davis said there are still significant questions about the development plan, including infrastructure and the Columbus Street extension and where those funds would come from.

“There are very serious items to discuss; particularly the dollars and cents,” said Davis.

Houk, who voted against the rezoning plan, said there are many loose ends involving the project including economic development.

“There is no commercial interest at this time,” said the councilwoman.

Houk also said she was concerned about increased traffic in the downtown area and the safety of library patrons if Columbus Street is extended.

Council also voted to postpone a preliminary development plan for the Residences at Brown’s Farm/Cottages at Brown’s Farm, located at 5273 Haughn Road.

Jonathan Wilcox, from Wilcox Communities, said the plan includes a two-part development; one includes 110 cottages on the east side of Haughn Road and the other includes 239 apartment units on the west side of Haughn Road. The homes would cater to senior citizens and empty nesters.

When the preliminary plan was first discussed by city council last month, many residents from the Orders Road area attended the council meeting to share their concerns about the proposal. Several residents addressed council again to reiterate their concerns about the added traffic along Orders Road.

Residents believe the road should be addressed before council approves any development for the area.

Part of the problem is that three jurisdictions maintain parts of Orders Road and roadways in the surrounding areas, including the city of Grove City, Jackson Township and Franklin County.

Councilman Ted Berry said he agrees that Orders Road needs attention but does not think that is necessarily the problem of Wilcox Communities – the developer.

“This is not all on the city,” said Berry. “The township and the county have to be a player in this.”

Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the city has stepped up to address many issues on Orders Road and is trying to resolve the Orders Road and State Route 62 intersection.

“The city has done an incredible amount on Orders Road,” said Stage.

Council members said for the most part, they like the preliminary development plan, they just have issues with the infrastructure along Orders Road supporting the increased traffic.

Council asked the city’s administration if they could review the issue and come up with a plan before the June 4 council meeting.

City Administrator Chuck Boso said funding for the road improvement is an issue and the city would have to explore creative financing options like an Ohio Public Works Commission grant.

“Realistically, it would be a long time before there are any improvements,” said Boso.

Council voted to postpone the preliminary development plan until the June 4 meeting.

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