Millions of dollars of infrastructure work will be completed before houses start to rise on the site of the expansive Evans Farm development in Orange Township.

County commissioners earlier this month approved an agreement with Evans Farm Land Development Co. on initial infrastructure work for the neighborhood planned on 1,250 acres north of Lewis Center Road. The agreement lays out the firm's responsibility to oversee about $8.5 million in street and stormwater improvements ahead of the construction of about 150 houses during the project's first phase.

County Chief Deputy Engineer Rob Riley said work to construct infrastructure should begin before the end of July at the site, whose first phase will be built northeast of the railroad crossing at Lewis Center Road just east of Olentangy High School.

"I would expect the streets to be substantially complete by this fall," he said.

Riley said he expects residents will see homes beginning to rise at the site around the same time.

Daniel Griffin and Tony Eyerman, partners in Evans Farm Land Development Co., have said the neighborhood will be influenced by tenets of the design movement known as New Urbanism. The movement calls for the creation of walkable neighborhoods with a mix of businesses and housing types.

Guidelines for single-family homes at Evans Farm will call for large front porches and hidden garages, with the homes located close to the street. Businesses and recreation areas will be built within walking distance of residences.

Eventually, the developers plan to build about 950 single-family houses, along with apartment and commercial buildings, on 550 acres in Orange Township. The firm also eventually plans to bring a similar concept to adjacent land farther north in Berlin Township.

Commissioner Jeff Benton said interest in the project is high among county residents.

"This is obviously a high-profile (development)," he said. "A lot of people are watching the progress of this project."

Under the pact approved by the county, infrastructure work for the first phase must be completed within a year of the commissioners' approval. Evans Farm Land Development Co. will be responsible for maintaining or replacing public infrastructure on the site that fails within a year, according to county records.