Delaware News

New houses could sprout on land near preserve

Rezoning of Liberty Township land paves way for 150 new homes

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A zoning change could lead to 150 new single-family homes just west of Shale Hollow Preserve in Liberty Township.

At their meeting July 7, township trustees voted 2-0, with Tom Mitchell absent, to rezone nearly 147 acres south of Hyatts Road and east of the Olentangy Falls neighborhood as as a Planned Residence District. The majority of the site’s acreage previously was zoned for the development of a retirement community.

Township Administrator Dave Anderson said the site’s current owner, Episcopal Retirement Homes Inc., had all the approvals it needed from the township to build a senior housing development, but the project never materialized.

Jack Brickner of Columbus-based Planned Communities Realty Co. said his firm was working with Columbus-based Rockford Homes on plans to bring a new development of single-family houses to the site.

Brickner said the companies tried to follow Liberty Township’s guidelines when designing the new development.

“One of the first things we focused on was what the comprehensive plan of the township was,” he said.

For instance, he said the township’s comprehensive plan calls for no more than 1.25 units per developable acre for the site. Rockford’s proposal is to build about 1.24 units per acre.

The plan also calls for 20 percent open space on site, which Brickner said the development will exceed. The developers also plan to install a bike path on the north side of the site, which is encouraged by the comprehensive plan.

Brickner said Rockford wants the site to have the “same quality and theme” as the existing Olentangy Falls neighborhood, which includes homes built by the company.

“A lot of the design standards, a lot of the specifications ... carry forward through (into this) section of the project,” he said.

Tracey Mullenhour, assistant zoning inspector for the township, told trustees the administration had no objections to the rezoning.

“I think it’s a very well-planned development and ... it’s just kind of a continuation of the current Olentangy Falls, which has been a very successful, beautiful neighborhood,” she said.

While the new development will share much in common with the existing Olentangy Falls development, it likely will fall under a different neighborhood governing body

“Right now, there’s no plan for this property to be part of the Olentangy Falls (homeowners association),” Brickner said, adding the two developments could choose to combine under one association in the future.

Brickner said the site likely will be developed in five phases, with about 30 homes being built in each phase. He said construction could begin on the first phase in 2015.

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