Hilliard Northwest News

Planning and zoning

Commission OKs senior condos on Trueman Boulevard

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year on a 127-unit senior citizen condominium complex at Trueman Boulevard and Trueman Court.

Resort Lifestyle Communities will build its first development in Ohio after the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission approved its proposal Sept. 12.

"Our developments are designed to be highly amenitized," said Josh Thornton, assistant vice president of finance for Resort Lifestyle Communities, based in Omaha, Neb.

The three-story, 175,000-square-foot facility will include support services such as a bank, barbershop, beauty salon, theater, library and pharmacy.

Most of the 127 units will be two-bedroom condominiums, but three-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio condominiums also will be available.

"Our residents usually have cars but often find it more convenient to use our shuttle and all the services provided on our campus," Thornton said.

Resort Lifestyle Communities was founded in 1989 and has properties in seven other states.

"The demographic for us in the Columbus market was favorable," Thornton said.

Thornton said company officials were aware of the failure of Hickory Chase, a development for senior citizens that Baltimore-based Erickson Communities was forced to scuttle after it filed for bankruptcy protection.

"It certainly exacerbated the need (for senior-living accommodations)," Thornton said.

Construction of the $25 million project is expected to begin in December, Thornton said, and the facility would be expected to open in the summer of 2015.

Resort Lifestyle Communities conceded to several requirements to gain commission approval.

Mayor Don Schonhardt, who also is a member of the commission, balked at the building material presented Sept. 12 because, he said, it differed from the images he had shown at a meeting with neighbors living closest to the proposed development.

Those images depicted natural materials -- including brick -- but cement boards were included in the plans shown to the commission.

Paul Ritchie, an architect from Nebraska representing Resort Lifestyle Communities, said despite the image shown of other sites, identical plans were not in place for the Hilliard facility.

"I already took it to the neighbors (and) it's my credibility that is on the line," said Schonhardt, adding that he would not support the plan as proposed.

Schonhardt said he was chiefly concerned about the third floor, which would be visible from neighboring single-family residences.

"I want the third floor to be a shining star," Schonhardt said.

Bill Uttley, chairman of the planning and zoning commission, also opposed the use of cement board and suggested alternative accents to the brick to be used in parts of the facade.

The developers agreed to modify the building material as city officials requested.

Hilliard officials also agreed to amend a requirement that Resort Lifestyle Communities replace at least half of the trees being removed for the construction of the building on the 7.1-acre plot.

Because there is not enough room to replace half of the estimated 84 trees, the city allowed the developer to make up the difference off site. A probable alternative is the placement of additional street trees along Trueman Boulevard, Schonhardt said.

The complex is expected to have a $20 million tax value and have 22 full-time equivalent jobs, Thornton said.

The measure was approved 5-0, with Uttley abstaining. Uttley filled in as secretary at the meeting and announced unless there was a tie vote on a case, he would abstain from voting as a precaution.

In other action at the Sept. 12 meeting, planning and zoning commission members voted 4-1 to approve a variance for Hilliard City Schools to eliminate the requirement of a masonry base for a ground sign at the McVey Innovative Learning Center on Cemetery Road.

Commission member Chris Lewie voted against the application. He said he was opposed to request, and upon learning a representative for the school district was not present, said he was "disappointed."

In other cases, all with 5-0 votes, commission members approved a variance to permit a temporary real-estate sign at 3650 Parkway Lane; approved the construction of a 2,400-square-foot building for Re-Tire Meant in the 5200 block of Center Street; and approved the construction of a 5,000-square-foot office building for Dejong Richter at 3325 Hilliard-Rome Road.

Tracy Richter, CEO of Dejong Richter, a facilities and planning consultant for school districts, said his company is relocating from Dublin to the site owned by Heritage Golf Club off Hilliard-Rome Road.

The staff of 11 employees is expected to relocate by the end of the year.

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