The Northland Community Council's development committee voted 10-2 last week to approve a rezoning request for a 10.9-acre site off Sunbury Road.
Canini and Associates wants to build a subdivision of 28 single-family homes on the parcel.
Attorney Jeffrey L. Brown of Smith and Hale LLC represented Canini and Associates at the committee meeting.
Nearby residents were on hand to express concerns about added traffic woes on already overtaxed Sunbury Road, pollution for yard chemicals finding its way into wells, added disruptions for a variety of wildlife, and water runoff onto their properties.
"Once again, as in the other case we heard in this neighborhood a short time ago, we're sympathetic to people who bought their homes perhaps a long time ago and they want it to remain rural ... but there's not a lot we can do about that," committee Chairman Dave Paul said the day after the vote was taken.
"Some of those concerns, we believe, will be mitigated anyway as development continues in that area ... but that's not the applicant's responsibility."
It was something of a novelty, Paul admitted, for the development panel to hear a proposal for a single-family project because apartment proposals have been the norm of late.
"I think it is encouraging," he said.
"I don't think it would be realistic for that parcel to remain rural," he added. "In fact, I think it would be less of a buffered situation from the more intense development that's going to happening up the street. It's a continuation of a development that's already occurring there."
Located at 5690 Sunbury Road, the almost 11-acre site is currently zoned limited rural residential, according to Brown. His client is requesting a change to suburban residential to allow the 28 homes to be built on lots 60 feet wide and about 140 feet deep.
The prices for the houses would range from $275,000 to $350,000, Brown said.
Although within Columbus city limits, the acreage is in the Westerville City School District, "which makes it attractive to single-family development," Brown said at the meeting.
"I think the zoning for this property ought to be left the way it is ... because our neighborhood is quickly becoming Sawmill Road 15 years ago," said Betty Shonebarger, whose driveway is a short distance from the entrance to the proposed new subdivision. "It's just going to turn into a nightmare. Sunbury Road's going to be at a standstill most hours of the day.
"I just don't see where we need more houses there."
"It's going to make it worse," Bonnie McGowan, who lives across the street from 5690 Sunbury Road, predicted of traffic if the rezoning goes through.
"Pardon me if I'm a little cynical," Shonebarger said. "I don't think you should approve it until we see what's going on with that road."
During discussion prior to the vote, Paul said some on the committee expressed surprise that a proposal for single-family housing should draw objections.
Generally on the eastern fringes of the Northland area, proposals for multifamily projects have been drawing the ire of nearby residents.