Olentangy Valley News

Berlin Township development

Dominion Homes goes back to drawing board after outcry

Trustees, residents find much to dislike about plan for 28 homes on Africa Road

By

After hearing negative feedback from the public and questions from the Berlin Township Zoning Commission, Dominion Homes says it will revise its plans for a housing development on Africa Road.

The Dublin-based builder had sought to rezone a 28.9-acre parcel at 3791 Africa Road from farm residential to multitype residential district. The change would have allowed the firm to build 28 houses on the site, which falls within the Olentangy Local School District.

Roesland Drive resident Mark Boboc said the idea of building one house per acre clashed with the area's rural character.

"It's like putting a round peg in a square hole," he said. "It just doesn't work."

About 80 residents of Berlin Township and nearby communities attended the board of trustees meeting Jan. 14, with no residents speaking in favor of the development.

Township officials also questioned the project's density and Dominion's math.

Board Chairwoman Toni Korleski asked why a previously constructed home belonging to the parcel's current owner was being included in the project's acreage if it was not going to be demolished. The house, which the owners plan to occupy, also would be exempt from the homeowners association.

Berlin Township Zoning Inspector Ken Baker said Dominion's claim it would build one home per acre was somewhat misleading.

"You're really looking at 3.2 units per acre," he said. "The majority of this (property) is undevelopable."

For that reason, Baker said the development went against the township's land-use guidelines.

Rob Meyer, lawyer for Dominion Homes, said the proposal was similar to the company's Crownover Farms development on an 88-acre parcel at Africa and Sherman roads. Commission members approved that project late last year.

"We think we paid attention to how the boundaries interact with adjoining properties on both (projects)," Meyer said.

He said the company would continue working with township and Delaware County officials to make the development a better fit with its surroundings.

Plumb Road resident Clint Warner disagreed that the development could be integrated into the community. He said people moved to the area to get away from residential developments and homeowners associations.

"We don't want anyone telling us what color our house is going to be," he said.

Korleski said many residents had called her in the days leading up to the meeting with concerns about how the development would impact the surrounding area. She said residents were worried about increased traffic, the destruction of wetlands and the loss of Berlin Township's rural character, among other issues.

After listening throughout the public comment period, Meyer asked the commission to table the discussion until March 11 to give Dominion time to revise its plans for the property.

"We're certainly not going to ask you to vote to approve this (current project) because we're pretty sure you wouldn't," he said.

Comments