Housing developments cause concern about traffic congestion

By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Grove City leaders are trying to figure out a way to balance development and infrastructure in the southern portion of the city.

At a meeting last month, council voted to postpone a rezoning request and a development plan for Communities at Plum Run, located north of State Route 665 and east of State Route 104. Pulte Homes has requested a zoning change from single family to planned unit development on 144 acres of land. The plan is to build a residential subdivision consisting of 266 single-family lots and 94 condominiums.

The legislation was postponed until the Feb. 21 council meeting, though city leaders said it could be delayed even further. The reason for the postponement is to gather more information on infrastructure and traffic issues.

According to city councilman Roby Schottke, the developer requested the delay so they could work with city officials, and representatives from Jackson Township and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) on the State Route 104 and 665 traffic concerns.

When these two pieces of legislation first appeared before the council, several community members spoke against the approval of the plan. The residents shared concerns about the amount of development in that area adding to the traffic, which is already a problem, according to many residents. One resident even presented council members with a petition that included signatures of more than 100 people who opposed the development and rezoning plan.

Schottke said traffic along State Route 104 is going to increase, with or without Communities at Plum Run. He said development is happening south of the city, in Pickaway County, that is putting more vehicles on that roadway.

According to the councilman, Grove City has taken the lead to address the State Route 104 and 665 intersection. Schottke said city leaders will meet with ODOT representatives and Jackson Township officials.

“We are looking at what can be done to fix that intersection,” said Schottke.

Some residents believe that the infrastructure should be addressed before the city allows more development. City officials say that private development helps to fund infrastructure improvements. Council members believe it will take private developers and public entities to work together to find the solutions.

In related news, the council approved a preliminary development plan for the Harris Property, located at the northwest corner of London Groveport Road and Borror Road. This proposal aims to put 323 homes on about 96 acres of land.

According to Joe Ciminello, the developer, this community will focus on empty nesters and will feature homes that range from $400,000 to $$500,000. He said he hopes to start construction on the development in the spring of 2024.

A traffic study is planned, and part of the proposal includes extending Hawthorne Parkway, which Ciminello said would help alleviate some traffic issues on State Route 665 and 104.

A few residents addressed the council with concerns about traffic, safety, and density.

Councilwoman Christine Houk said she was hesitant to approve more housing developments until there is more clarity on infrastructure improvements.

“The 665 and 104 corridors deserve a considerable amount of attention,” said Houk. “That may take a while.”

Houk was the only council member to vote against the preliminary development plan for the Harris Property. The resolution passed with a 3-1 vote. Councilman Mark Sigrist was not present at the meeting for the vote.

Council will still need to sign off on the development plan before the project is able to move forward.

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