Pickerington Times-Sun

Plans moving forward for soccer complex on Gray Drive

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Homestead Development Co. officials are proposing to build this the $4 million soccer facility on Gray Drive, next to Pickerington's new water plant. Company officials said the target date to open the Four Seasons Soccer Complex is October 2013.

The development team for a proposed 112,959-square-foot indoor soccer complex appeared with Pickerington officials at City Hall for an "informational meeting" Dec. 5 to iron out the facility's various architectural, site plan and landscaping details, all of which will have to be approved by the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.

"It is important to clarify this meeting," said Bill Vance, Pickerington city manager.

"The city is receptive to the new soccer complex in Pickerington.

"The purpose is to round out the proposal," Vance said.

Homestead Development Co. officially purchased a 16-acre plot from the city in October for $263,029 so it can construct the $4 million facility on Gray Drive, next to Pickerington's new water plant.

In July 2011, Homestead received approval to build a similar complex behind Big Lots, west of Hill Road.

Homestead, instead, sold that 70-acre parcel to OhioHealth, which will build a health care campus there.

Homestead became interested in the new location and contracted with the city to purchase the land outright.

The developers must now go through the approval process with the Planning and Zoning Commission all over again.

"Planning and Zoning's job is to find a happy medium," said Jeff Fix, a Pickerington City Councilman.

"My hope coming into today is that we'll find that happy medium," Fix said.

Doug Blake of the Planning and Zoning Commission provided Homestead representatives with a blueprint of what the commission will expect during the approval process.

"We want to protect your guys rights to build in a designated C-3," said Blake, referring to the part of the zoning code that applies to community commercial properties.

"The last thing we want to do at (Planning and Zoning) is (for you) to redesign a building you guys have spent a long time designing," Blake said.

The new steel fixed-frame building will be different from the previous incarnation.

"It's now in an 'L-shaped' configuration as opposed to one big, long building," said Doug Maddy of Brookewood Construction Co., the builder of the complex.

"We want to make the building fit the site," Maddy said.

"We did add brick, everything in that commercial corridor is brick," he said.

"We have a significant amount of more glass than we had in the previous application."

Pickerington Development Services Director Joe Henderson said one of the challenges with the new site is "they have a huge gas easement going through a large portion of (the property)."

Henderson said it poses a problem because Homestead can't put any landscaping over the pipeline, yet it will be required by city code to cover 10 percent of the property with interior landscaping.

Both parties agreed landscaping won't be an issue if Homestead finds a creative way to disperse it throughout the property.

The complex will also abut two properties in the Windmiller subdivision, and Henderson told the developers buffering will be needed along Gray Drive, such as mounding, to "cut the beam of the car lights."

City Engineer Greg Bachman advised the developers to have a plan in place for storm water detention after Maddy acknowledged he wasn't ready to address that issue.

"I would hate to see (it) go through Planning and Zoning and have to come back (because) the detention doesn't work," Bachman said.

Blake said towards the end of the meeting he believed the biggest concern remained the lack of a detention plan.

"That's a huge part of this deal," Blake said.

"If we walk out of here and that's the biggest issue you have left, I'm happy," Fix said.

Maddy told city officials Homestead is on a strict time line for completion of the project.

"We've got to move forward to building permit and construction if we have hopes of getting this constructed by next year," Maddy said.

Fix said the overall goal is to find the right balance between "looks great" and being cost effective.

"We want to make sure it looks right and reflects where we're going as a community," Fix said.

Developer Jim Ebright assured city officials "there are a lot of people that will be thrilled to have this in their community."

Ebright, who will be the owner/operator, said the target date to open the "Four Seasons Soccer Complex" is October 2013.

"That's why this is being fast-tracked to get everything going," Ebright said.

"It's a good nine-month construction process," he said.