Delaware News

'Third time's the charm' for site's development

Ten years, pair of failed plans precede new proposal for 323 homes on city's south side

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Delaware City Council gave preliminary approval last week to the development of more than 300 new homes on land annexed from Delaware Township more than a decade ago.

Council unanimously approved a preliminary development plan at its meeting Monday, April 28, for the 323-home Stockdale Farms subdivision, which would sit on 158.2 acres at the northeast corner of Braumiller and Pollock roads.

David Efland, Delaware's planning and community development director, said the city has been meeting with developers regarding the site for more than 10 years. In that time, three plans for the site have come before council for approval.

"I will tell you that, by far, in my opinion, this is the best of the three plans that have ever come before the city," he said.

Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers initially proposed building 387 units on the site before leaving the central Ohio market and abandoning the plan in the mid-2000s. In 2005, the developer LYH of Dublin proposed building 370 units, 102 of which would have been condominiums.

The city gave the developer five extensions for the project, which was delayed by a weak housing market.

This year, LYH brought a revised plan featuring 245 single-family homes on "larger-than-typical subdivision lots" and 78 cluster homes located in the northeast section of the property, according to city records.

Efland said the city previously discussed relocating Braumiller Road in concert with the development, but the relocation was not included in this new plan.

"The Braumiller Road relocation ... that would have resulted in a bridge over the (Olentangy) River is no longer really an effective part of our transportation plan," he said.

Efland said the project would be stricken from the city's official transportation plan during the next revision because it would offer minimal benefits at a great cost.

Earlier plans also called for the relocation of existing utility lines, but those plans were rejected as financially untenable.

Efland said nearby residents brought "a number of concerns and questions" about issues such as traffic and stormwater management at the development to previous Planning Commission meetings.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller said a majority of the concerns actually were issues that were outside of the city's jurisdiction.

No residents spoke at the April 28 council meeting for or against the development.

Council only approved preliminary plans for the development at the meeting. Individual phases of the development will need to be examined and approved by the city's boards as the project moves forward.

Jack Reynolds, an attorney representing the development, said the market was ready for the project, adding developers intended to pursue an aggressive schedule.

"The old adage is: The third time is the charm," Reynolds said.

Efland said he was impressed by the work that went into the plan for the development.

"(It) represents, again in my opinion, what I would call the next level of subdivision," he said. "We have not really seen one like this in terms of its overall planning, landscaping, integrated signage and design, parkland and preservation of open spaces."

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