By Andrea Cordle
A proposal to build apartments and condominiums near Orders Road was met with opposition from numerous residents.
At the April 16 meeting, council heard from several residents who live around Orders Road who spoke out against a preliminary development plan for the Residences at Brown’s Farm/the Cottages at Brown’s Farm, located at 5273 Haughn Road.
Jonathan Wilcox, from Wilcox Communities, said the plan includes a two-part development – 110 cottages (condominiums) on the east side of Haughn Road and 239 apartment units on the west side of Haughn Road. The homes would cater to the older crowd; senior citizens and empty nesters. The apartments and cottages would be located near the current StoryPoint development, which also accommodates senior citizens.
The preliminary proposal was approved by the Grove City Planning Commission with the stipulation that Wilcox Communities agrees to work with the city regarding roadway improvements around the site’s access points along Haughn Road, south of Orders Road and investigate the feasibility of reconfiguring the access points to Orders Road.
Residents already living in that area said they are concerned about the additional traffic nearly 350 housing units would create.
“Old Haughn Road is a rural road and it is not suited for the kind of traffic a high-density apartment complex would bring,” said resident David Hellard.
Hellard said Orders Road and Haughn Road is already busy as a traffic corridor. He urged council to reject the preliminary development plan.
“It is an ill-conceived development plan and the roads are too dangerous,” Hellard said.
Tad Kuhn agreed and said, “The roads have to be figured out before there is any development.”
Sandra Reed said she believes the developers are operating under the misconception that because the homes cater to the retired, those people will not travel the local roads as much and would not contribute to traffic congestion. Reed says this is simply not true. She said she and her husband are retired and they are always out running around. She also said she was concerned about drainage issues.
“What will the project do to the drainage in the area?” asked Reed.
Ken Kober said he is tired of all the apartments in the city.
He said in the city’s logo, a tree represents Grove City.
“You may as well change the tree to an apartment silhouette,” said Kober.
Wilcox said he would like to resolve as many problems as possible, the biggest priority being the access points.
“We want the opportunity to move forward,” said Wilcox.
Wilcox said he would continue dialogue with neighbors and work with the city on the traffic issues.
Council agreed to postpone a vote on the plan.
Councilman Jeff Davis said there are still many unanswered questions. He hopes that the developer can provide some answers within the next few weeks.
Councilwoman Christine Houk said she had no objection to the project itself; she was concerned about the infrastructure around the land.
“This may be insurmountable,” said Houk.
Councilman Ted Berry said this plan supports the GroveCity2050 plan by addressing the county’s aging population. He said he would support the preliminary plan moving forward, but he would not support the final plan as is.
“There are too many issues,” said Berry.
The preliminary development plan will be discussed again at the May 7 council meeting. Council meets at 7 p.m. at City Hall on Broadway.