Dublin Villager

Avondale Woods sent back to drawing board

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A plan for more than 350 single- and multiple-family homes off Avery Road will return to the drawing board.

Plans for Avondale Woods, a housing development on the southern tip of Dublin, have gone before the City Planning and Zoning Commission before in 2010 and 2012.

Although commission members said they saw improvements in the newest version of the proposed development, more changes are needed before it can go forward and developers requested the plans be tabled.

Avondale Woods is planned for 120 acres west of Avery Road on vacant land behind a new National Church Residences development.

"It is the very southern tip of the city of Dublin and in the Hilliard school district," Dublin Planner Claudia Husak said, noting the site is bordered on two sides by Columbus.

The 120 acres were divided into seven areas for the development; three areas with 228 multi-family units that range from three- and four-unit buildings to attached housing; one area of 78 single-family units; about 11 acres of a park, storm water pond and 15,000-square-foot clubhouse; and two areas of wooded preserves.

"We envisioned this as a multi-generational project," said Chris Cline, who represented developer Homewood Corp.

City staff recommended against approving of the application because developers did not agree to contribute to help fund improvements to Avery Road, although they did commit to installing a traffic signal and helping with road improvements elsewhere.

The development is expected to contribute to about 5 percent of roadway traffic, Cline said, and $800,000 is already on the table for the signal and road improvements.

Requested funding, Cline said, would have Homewood paying for 60 percent of planned improvements, which makes the project not feasible.

City staff members also recommended against approving the project because the application did not meet several criteria because of technical and engineering problems.

Commission members largely agreed with staff's recommendation, but told developers the plans were close.

"This is an improvement over what we saw last time," Joe Budde said. "What is really disconcerting to me is the staff report to us.

"It says criteria is not met ... I have a tough time supporting that."

"I was surprised to see disapproval because we've seen it twice," Amy Kramb said.

Some did express concerns, however, over density, proximity of some units to CSX railroad tracks that line one edge of the property, one-car garages and parking and a lack of curbs and gutters.

"It stresses me when we look at a property with the maximum amount of units," Warren Fishman said. "Squeezing this to maximum density is a mistake."

With the proposal tabled, Homewood has a chance to later return to the Planning and Zoning Commission with a modified rezoning, preliminary development plan and preliminary plat for approval.

The commission also tabled a rezoning, preliminary development plan and preliminary plat request to build a 10,288-square-foot special events center at 5555 Wall Street.

The plan from Noah's Special Events Center, a company launched in Utah, was recommended for disproval by planning staff.

Commission members heard concerns about the location of the center which would host corporate events, meetings, weddings and other celebration from residents of the neighboring Village at Coffman Park.

Commission members applauded the idea of the business in Dublin, but had concerns and voted to table to plan at the developer's request.

"I think this would be valuable in our community," Victoria Newell said, "but there's not enough area on the site."

"I would like to see you in some commercial district," Chris Amorose Groomes said, adding a parking agreement with another business would be a plus.

"This is sorely needed in the city of Dublin," Groomes said.

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