Changes in the local housing market have prompted a homebuilder to ask Hilliard officials to modify a previously approved plan for a development known as Carr Farms.

Epcon Communities is asking city officials for most of the development to be "empty-nester" homes.

Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission members will consider the proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Hilliard Municipal Building. They tabled the application Aug. 9.

"The (housing) market changed," Joel Rhoades, representing Epcon, told commission members Aug. 9.

Several residents living in the Brixston neighborhood and the Courtyards at Hayden Run adjacent to the undeveloped 80-acre parcel, which is on the east side of Leppert Road and north of Davidson Road, spoke in opposition of the proposal.

In November 2015, the planning-and-zoning commission approved a planned-unit-development concept plan for 157 single-family residences.

In April, the commission approved a six-month extension of the PUD concept plan that extended it until March 2019.

Now, Epcon and Homewood Corp., which is listed as the applicant, are seeking to build 59 single-family homes and 179 empty-nester homes on the same parcel.

Epcon would build the empty-nester residences and Homewood could handle the single-family homes, according to Tom Hart, an attorney representing Epcon.

John Talentino, Hilliard's city planner, said Homewood owns all the property but Epcon would buy it if the PUD modification were approved.

Jim Lipnos, president of Homewood, said his company then would buy back a portion of the lot from Epcon for the development of single-family residences.

"We have the option to purchase those lots back and intend to do so," he said.

Lipnos said the single-family homes would be constructed by Trinity Homes.

Commission members said they were perplexed by the change in strategy.

"We worked hard to get this approved over a lot of groans. ... What changed?" commission member Chris Lewie asked.

"The market," Rhoades replied.

He said the demand for single-family homes is lagging while empty-nester homes are in demand from the baby-boomer population.

"People born and raised in Hilliard want to stay here. ... But they don't want stairs or to use a lawn mower," Rhoades said.

City officials appeared to support the proposal.

According to the staff report from the city, "the proposed modification will result in a reduction in the number of occupants and the number of daily trips for the overall development."

The proposal also "will provide a desirable housing option in the Hilliard market" and "a reduction in the expected number of public school students as compared to the approved plan," the staff report said.

But residents still raised concerns about traffic.

"No amount of road widening will handle the traffic," said Joe Leppert, who lives on Leppert Road.

Tim Fulton, who lives on Davidson Road, recounted the number of mailboxes he has been required to repair or replace because of inattentive drivers and said he was worried about more traffic.

Commission member Jay Muether also questioned the lack of connections to streets in the neighborhood to the east.

"I'd like to see more north-to-south connectivity, something that connects to Brixston Drive or Edie Drive. ...Those stub streets were made that way to be extended," he said.

"There is a lot here to discuss," said Mayor Don Schonhardt, who also is a member of the commission.

Schonhardt suggested Homewood seek a postponement to achieve "a reasonable compromise."

Rhoades asked for a postponement that commission members granted 6-0. Scott Movshin, the chairman of the commission, was absent.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo