A proposal to increase the density of the planned Meadowbrooke subdivision from nine to 14 lots will go to Gahanna City Council for consideration.

A proposal to increase the density of the planned Meadowbrooke subdivision from nine to 14 lots will go to Gahanna City Council for consideration.

The planning commission approved legislation with a 5-2 vote March 23.

Commission members Don Shepherd, Jennifer Price, Kristin Rosan, David Thom and Robert Westwood voted in favor of a variance and zoning request; David Andrews and Joe Keehner dissented.

The variance would allow for an increase in overall residential density from nine to 14 lots.

"I think (developer) Doug Maddy is a man of integrity, and he has done great things in Gahanna," Andrews said. "I like the green development idea and the preservation zone, but I feel there are too many homes for the size of the property."

Keehner said he still has concerns with the slope on the south side of the development, at 5593 Havens Corners Road.

"When you look at that typography and next to a flood plain, even with a rain garden, I think it will be problematic," he said. "I don't like the slope. That's still my issue."

David Hodge, representing Brookwood Construction, said the rezoning allows five more houses to be built, as opposed to the nine that had been approved five years ago.

"In 2006, it came through at the end of the housing bubble," he said. "The housing market has been in a depression. It looked like a viable project in 2006. It isn't today. Mr. Maddy is back, and it's at a price point where we think people would be interested in it."

The homes, ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 square feet, would sell beginning at $250,000 to $300,000, Maddy said.

"I'd like to build in the $450,000 range, but the market is such that it isn't there," he said. "I think it will be mixed-use with some empty-nesters and some with kids. We'll have a mix of plans to appeal to the buyer."

Following last week's meeting, Ashley Court resident Ben Anders said he and the residents who live next to Meadowbrooke would be most affected by the development.

"I asked the planning commission to use previous precedent in our neighborhood and ensure our home values would be positively affected by the new subdivision and that the density of new homes conform to the surrounding neighborhood," he said. "In approving the developer's proposal, the commission failed on both points."

As a professional real estate agent, Shepherd said, it's his opinion that the neighbors wouldn't be negatively affected by Meadowbrooke.

"The (proposed) homes are smaller, probably costing more per square foot," he said. "People who look at (Meadowbrooke) will want a smaller home without a large yard to mow."

Maddy said Meadowbrooke wouldn't be a "cookie cutter" development and that homes would be built to each client's liking.

Most members of the commission praised Maddy for shifting to use a green concept with right-of-way rain gardens and pervious clay pavers for streets or lot driveways.

The developer also committed to planting 63 trees on the south side of the development, and he promised that the stormwater plan would be approved by the Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District, as well as Gahanna's engineer.

Havens Corners Road resident Rod Wilcox said he's glad the water-flow issue has been resolved, but he's still concerned about the development being built across from his property.

"The density and $250,000 home doesn't jive with what's in the area," he said. "Please, please think. It would adversely affect the area. It makes no sense."

Westwood said he appreciates the neighbors' concerns, but he's in favor of the development.

"Even though it's an increase in lots, it's a workable plan," he said. "I won't stand in the way of development."

Price said she has spent a great deal of time soul searching and reviewing the development. She said she appreciates the additional scrutiny of Franklin Soil & Water.