After months of scrutiny, a proposal for the Meadowbrooke subdivision with 15 residential lots at 5593 Havens Corners Road will proceed to Gahanna City Council on May 20.
Gahanna’s Planning Commission on April 10 approved a zoning application by Doug Maddy’s Brookewood Construction Co. Inc., but it wasn’t unanimous or without covenants.
The commission gave several stipulations upon approval: The applicant pay the cost of building sidewalks from Grand Ridge Court to Farm Creek Drive; the home on Lot 1 must be built with two-sided architecture so the north side would look like the front of the residence; and deed restrictions and overlay texts must be amended to give the city the ability to mitigate or repair any stormwater measures.
Commission members Don Shepherd, Jennifer Price, Kristin Rosan, David Thom and Thomas Wester voted for the zoning change, and David Andrews and Joe Keehner dissented.
The current zoning is limited-overlay single-family residential, and the proposed rezoning is the same, but with changes to the limited-overlay and development plan.
The property was zoned in late 2006 to residential-overlay district to permit a nine-lot single-family subdivision with a preservation zone setback area.
The commission also approved several variances in connection with the zoning for curbs and gutters, sidewalks and yard requirements and to allow an increase in overall density.
The increase in density has been the main objection of neighboring residents and some commission members.
The variance to increase the density was approved 4-3, with Shepherd, Price, Rosan and Thom voting yes. Andrews, Keehner and Wester voted no.
Andrews said the increase in the number of homes from the original plan is 70 percent.
“That’s a great increase on what was approved,” he said. “I’d protest if this was up against my property. There isn’t just one variance but several. I think it’s too much for that piece of property.”
Keehner took issue with the number of homes on the west side of the development because of the topography.
Wester applauded the developer’s use of best management practices, such as rain gardens for stormwater control, but he also noted a failure to integrate code requirements like sidewalks.
Havens Corners resident Rod Wilcox said his biggest objection is the density.
If the developer doesn’t find it feasible to build the number of homes for which it originally was zoned, Wilcox said, that’s the developer’s problem.
“We don’t solve it by rezoning for 15 lots,” he said. “You’ll set a precedent for Havens Corners Road you’ll regret.”
David Hodge, attorney for the applicant, said the density for the project is consistent with recommendations from the city’s land-use plan. He said the homes would be priced from $300,000 to $350,000.
“Clearly, these are fantastic homes,” Hodge said. “We feel it will have a positive impact on the surrounding properties.”
Price said the homes offer a different product from what’s available in Gahanna. She said she sees the best-practices measures for storm water as an improvement for everyone in the area.
“I think that’s a huge obstacle the developer has tackled,” she said. “I feel like it’s a solid plan.”
Rosan was a staunch proponent of sidewalk connectivity to provide a means for residents to walk to other neighboring amenities.
Hodge said the developer’s goal is to pay for sidewalks from Grand Ridge to Farm Creek in lieu of parkland dedication. But if that isn’t possible, he said, Brookewood would pay for the sidewalks.
Gahanna deputy development director Leah Evans said the developer already has paid $18,400 in parkland fees, and an additional $20,000 would be due as a result of six more lots.
Thom said the proposed plan is “probably the best we’re going to get.”
He said he had concerns about density, but the concessions by the developer outweigh the additional homes.