Hilliard Northwest News

City Council expected to vote Sept. 9 on Epcon rezoning

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Hilliard City Council members could approve an ordinance Sept. 9 rezoning 13.3 acres on the south side of Hayden Run Road, just east of Leppert Road, for residential development.

Epcon Communities proposes to build 50 condominiums called the Courtyards at Hayden Run.

Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission members approved rezoning the tract June 13. Neighbors also attended the meeting to oppose the rezoning.

Some of those same residents attended an Aug. 26 meeting for a second reading of the ordinance and a public hearing. The ordinance advanced to a third and final reading Sept. 9.

Jeff Bundy, of Edie Drive, attended the June 24 meeting when the ordinance was introduced and reiterated his opposition Aug. 26, supplying City Council members with a written report.

"Hilliard needs to stand its ground against new development," Bundy said.

Keith Blough, of Edie Drive, said the development would generate too much traffic.

"There is not the infrastructure to support it," Blough said.

Bob Cornett, of Edie Drive, told City Council members he once served on a municipal planning and zoning commission, and while personally opposed to the development, he understood it was possible when he bought his house five years ago.

"But this plan does not benefit us ... it only benefits the developer," said Cornett, who appealed to City Council to compel the developer to preserve trees, install nonevasive lighting and adequate traffic-control devices.

Joel Rhoades, vice president and general counsel for Epcon Communities, said the company shares the concerns of residents and sees a need for the specific housing stock it will provide.

"This development will have a positive impact on the city," Rhoades said.

He said Epcon Communities is committed to preserving as many trees as possible.

Rhoades said the 13.3-acre site has 775 trees with a total of 8,103 caliper inches.

"I can't give you details (tonight) on the number of trees we can save ... but we are committed to comply with the city code," Rhoades said.

If City Council approves the rezoning, Epcon Communities would next submit a final development plan to the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission, detailing the lot sizes, building materials and other specifics of the proposed 50 single-family, detached condominiums.

The condominiums represent a new initiative for Epcon Communities, which has previously developed quads.

The style of the development is in response to consumer demand, Rhoades said.

Mayor Don Schonhardt previously said the development addressed an identified housing need in the community and that he is satisfied with the quality of the proposed development.

"This is a unique site that will provide a type of housing we don't currently have (in Hilliard)," Schonhardt said.

City Planner John Talentino previously said while the density exceeds that which is recommended in the comprehensive plan, city officials support the proposal because the units are designed to attract buyers who are least likely to have school-aged children.

The comprehensive plan calls for a maximum of two units per acre. At 50 units on 13.3 acres, the density of the Courtyards at Hayden Run is 3.75 units per acre.

City officials, in this instance, said they are basing density not on real units per acre, but on the number of occupants the development is expected to generate.

A boulevard-style entrance into the development from Hayden Run Road will be built, as well as the construction of a left-turn lane for westbound traffic on Hayden Run Road to enter the development.

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