Several property owners have filed a petition with the Franklin County Board of Commissioners to annex 493.6 acres of land from Norwich and Brown townships into the city of Hilliard.

Several property owners have filed a petition with the Franklin County Board of Commissioners to annex 493.6 acres of land from Norwich and Brown townships into the city of Hilliard.

Hilliard Economic Development Director David Meeks told members of city council's Planning, Projects and Services Committee Monday night that the property owners had filed the petition with the board of commissioners Sept. 4. That filing set in motion a process under which the city has 20 days to adopt a resolution defining the services that will be provided to the property owners by the city upon annexation.

That resolution, which states the city will provide water and sewer services to the properties, was reviewed by the committee Monday night and forwarded to city council, which is scheduled to formally approve it at the group's Sept. 22 meeting.

After the annexation is approved by the commissioners the development process, including rezoning and development plan and plat approvals, will begin. Meeks said that won't happen overnight.

"I don't think you are going to see anything out there for at least two years," Meeks said. "There's a lot of planning that needs to go into it. It's in the Big Darby Accord area so there are some real heavy environmental requirements."

The annexation is significant for two reasons: It marks the beginning of the process to expand Hilliard's western boundaries, and it would be the first major development within the Big Darby Accord planning area.

The properties being annexed are located north of Roberts Road and west of Alton-Darby Road. They include approximately 229 acres of land owned by the Homewood Corporation, 119 acres owned by the Hilliard City School District (including the new Hilliard Bradley High School and a future middle school site) and about 65 acres north of the Homewood site owned by H & C LLC. Two individual property owners also have smaller parcels within the annexation area.

Meeks said the Homewood property will be a residential development.

"It's not going to be like anything you have ever seen in that area," he said. "This is going to be low density and there are requirements that 50 percent of the space be open space. There will be one house maximum per acre. When it does develop it is going to be spread out. It is going to be much more upscale because there will be fewer homes so they will be more expensive homes."

While development standards within the Big Darby Accord planning area will be stringent, Meeks said that will be a positive for Hilliard.

"This will be a new standard," he said. "From the city's perspective, we like that because it creates move-up opportunities for those who are here and it creates executive living opportunities.

"We are trying to attract new companies to Hilliard and this creates opportunities for those executives to bring it all a little closer to home," Meeks said.

In addition to the residential development, Meeks said small amounts of retail/commercial are likely closer to Roberts Road and Alton Darby Road.

"There is an opportunity for some retail," he said.

Meeks said only 13 single family residential permits were approved in the city of Hilliard last year and that while that market has been down, he expects it to rebound.

"It will come back," he said. "This really allows us to plan for something much more responsible, something that meets the needs of our community instead of what you saw when subdivision after subdivision was being built. You aren't going to see that here."

Meeks said future development in the annexation area will be environmentally sensitive.

"It's going to be much greener, much more environmentally responsible," he said.

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