Pickerington Times-Sun

South Hampton housing project granted an extension

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The proposed development of condominiums and single-family homes off Hill Road South, put on the back burner because of the slow economy, has received another five-year extension.

The Violet Township Board of Trustees approved the South Hampton development plan extension by a 3-0 vote at its Sept. 5 meeting. Located in the Canal Winchester school district, south of Busey Road on the east side of Hill Road South, the combination of about 59 acres was rezoned in November 2007.

The land, owned by Winchester Trace II and Gregory and Carmen Bigus, consists of 35.2 acres with 61 family lots and 24.4 acres, classified as R-3, which would allow for condominiums.

"In 2007, it was rezoned after several public hearings. Part of it's zoned planned residential and R-3 for condominiums," township zoning officer Kelly Sarkos said.

"The development plan is expiring after five years," she said. "The code allows the property owners to file for an extension. Because it is expiring in November, all of the property owners are requesting an extension of the development plan."

She said if a plat had been filed and recorded, "there would be no need for an extension." The land, however, remains a cornfield.

Sarkos said such a status is not unusual in the area, given the down economy, which has thwarted similar development plans in Violet Township.

"We've had two of them, Woodland Ranch and Eastern Lakes, on the north side of Refugee Road. They both were rezoned with development plans but no action with regard to housing has occurred," Sarkos said.

She said if and when it comes time for the South Hampton development to proceed, the developers "would have to file a plan with the Fairfield County Regional Planning Commission and go through the motions to record the plats."

One of the project developers, Kevin Strait of Pickerington, said the plans "made good sense at the time, but the development market changed. We're waiting for that market to come back."

Strait said the "housing market is looking better than what it was last year," but there are some existing developments in the area that still have lots available. He said once those get filled, developers "would be looking for the next place to start building homes."

Strait said if the time comes, the developers of South Hampton will be faced with two options.

"We will actually be developing it or we could sell it to someone who wants to put their product on it," he said. "Right now, it's just a piece of farmland; they'll be taking corn out of there soon."

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