Land northwest of New Albany
Residents upset by suggested higher density
A supposed proposed 800-percent increase in density for property along Ulry Road has residents of at least one nearby subdivision up in arms and planning to pack the Northland Community Council's Aug. 29 development committee meeting.
Many of the properties along Ulry Road are in the New Albany-Plain Local School District.
However, the lawyer for the owner and would-be developer of the site -- identified on the Franklin County Auditor's website as McCorkle Soaring Eagles LLC -- said the Aug. 29 meeting will involve merely an informal discussion about what is being proposed for the nearly 40 acres now zoned as farmland.
Jill Tangerman, a partner in the Columbus office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP who has McCorkle Soaring Eagles as a client, said the site is currently in Blendon Township. An application to have the property annexed into Columbus was filed, but has since been withdrawn and no timetable has been set for refilling, she added.
The property in question is located east of Ulry Road and south of Warner Road, just outside of Westerville.
The original annexation request would have involved 62 acres; at that time, the proposed development density was eight units an acre, an official with Preferred Real Estate said at the development panel's Feb. 29 session.
Residents of the Rolling Ridge subdivision, two of whom have joined the NCC development committee to make their opposition known, have formed a committee and are circulating an online petition hoping to block what they now say is an effort to increase the density to 24 units an acre and include a strip shopping center.
The current Northland Development Plan calls for three single-family units per acre in that area, although that was adopted by Columbus City Council in 2002 and would have no effect on land in a township.
It's the difference between three units an acre and 24 that is being cited by Rolling Ridge residents to account for their calculation that the jump in density is 800 percent.
Dee Grindley, a resident of Rolling Ridge and a member of the committee formed in opposition to the project, is the author of the online petition.
In an interview last week, she made it clear she was speaking only for herself, not her neighbors or their civic association.
"Long after the glitter of the gold that's obtained from such a project is gone, the people are left with the result," Grindley said. "It cannot happen. That land was bought as farmland and right now, that's what they have the zoning for.
"For them to suddenly want to surpass that study to 24 units from three, it's just ludicrous. That's dumping on everybody."
Bill McCorkle of McCorkle Soaring Eagles, a member of a family involved in central Ohio land development for the past four decades, has tried to reason with Rolling Ridge opponents, his lawyer indicated.
"My client has met directly with the neighbors on many occasions," Tangerman said. "At the moment, they're only interested in that being only single-family, rural development. That's not consistent with current development patterns in that area and not consistent with current development trends."
Right now, though, she added, nothing formal exists to change the zoning, and can't until such time as annexation should occur.
"There are no pending applications at this moment," Tangerman said. "The owner wants to make a good-faith effort to try to come to some compromise."
"The critical issue here is all that runoff has to go someplace," Grindley said. "The same thing happened in Minerva Park. They put all those apartments in and all that runoff went into Minerva Lake. Now they have a dead lake, and who's footing the bill for that? Columbus has no money for that. Are they going to have money for this? No.
"That's the last piece of vacant land in this quadrant," she added. "It is the only place left to sustain any kind of habitation or lakes or anything."
Grindley also raised concerns about safety and complained about too much multifamily development in the area of her subdivision.
"You put 500 apartments in there and you pick the kids up in school buses on these roads ... even if they widen Warner Road to four lanes, it can't accommodate all these apartments," she said. "This area has been inundated by apartments.
"I think this whole northeast quadrant is going to respond to this. This is a vital issue. It's not just a passing phase. At some point, you just have to stand up."
Northland Community Council development committee meetings are held at 7 p.m. the last Wednesday of the month in the Minerva Park Community Center, 2829 Minerva Lake Road.