Westerville News & Public Opinion

Along North State Street

Westerville council questions housing project's impact

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The single-family portion of the State Street Residences development would consist of 41 courtyard homes from Epcon Communities.

Westerville City Council has questions it wants answered before voting later this month on a proposed a multifamily housing project along North State Street.

The proposed development at 645 and 655 N. State St. -- on 23.6 acres along the west side of State, between the Village Green and Ruckmoor subdivisions -- is comprised of two separate parcels of land. The largest -- more than 17 acres -- is commonly referred to as the Perkins property, after the family that previously owned it.

Guiding the development is the North Westerville Plan, which states any developments on the property must remain residential and meet several other development guidelines.

The "State Street Residences" proposal for a mixed-housing development comes from Romanelli Investments and Mayfair Homes. A mix of single- and multi-family residences, with a clubhouse and pool, are proposed.

"Sub-area I" would be made of 41 "courtyard homes," with two-car garages.

"Sub-area II" would contain 148 one- or two-bedroom multi-family units with access to a clubhouse and a pool.

A proposed extension to Hoff Road would provide access to both areas and connect to Village Green Drive to the south of the development. The development plan also features a bike path extending from State Street to the western property line.

Existing homes in the Village Green subdivision to the south would be buffered by a 30-foot rear yard setback that includes a "no disturb zone," of 20 feet.

The development already was considered by the Westerville Planning Commission, which voted 2-4 Feb. 26 against recommending the plan for passage by City Council. The negative recommendation means City Council would need a supermajority to pass the plan -- or approval from five of its seven members.

Those opposed to the project before the commission questioned whether the apartments were appropriate in the location, and cited excess density and lack of green space as concerns.

Councilman Mike Heyeck presented the added concern March 18 of whether the planned development fits into the North Westerville Plan.

"We've deviated from the North Westerville Plan before ... but I'd like council to understand what is in the North Westerville Plan with respect to multi-family (homes) on this parcel," he said.

Added traffic on the already busy stretch of North State Street between County Line Road and Polaris Parkway also is an issue, said Councilman Larry Jenkins.

"My biggest concern at this point is looking at the road and traffic," he said. "We have a growing traffic concern on State Street."

The ordinance to rezone the 23.2-acre tract from Rural Residential to Planned Neighborhood Development was to receive a second reading at council's meeting April 1. It is set for a public hearing and final vote at council's meeting April 15.

Council members requested city staff update them on the North Westerville Plan implications and expected traffic impact prior to the vote.