Epcon Communities will move forward with plans for a primarily empty-nester development known as the Courtyards at Carr Farms after Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission members approved its proposal Sept. 13.

Hilliard City Council, however, must give final approval for the development, according to city planner John Talentino.

Epcon and Homewood Corp. are seeking to build 59 single-family residences and 179 empty-nester homes on 80 acres on the east side of Leppert Road, north of Davidson Road.

The development is a modification of what the commission approved three years ago.

The revised plan, though greater in density, is expected to generate less traffic, according to Talentino, who recommended the commission approve the proposal.

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

But Joel Rhoades of Epcon Communities said a change in the housing market prompted the new proposal.

Demand for single-family homes is waning but empty-nester homes are in demand from baby boomers, Rhoades said.

The proposal approved Sept. 13 was amended from the one presented Aug. 9.

Edie Drive, currently a stub street in Brixston Estates to the east, will be extended west to meet Leppert Road. It had remained a stub street in the original proposal.

"Edie Drive will become a thoroughfare," Bruce Frazier, an Edie Drive resident, said after the meeting.

Other residents said they were concerned about Edie Drive absorbing additional traffic, especially from athletic fields the city plans to develop on the west side of Leppert Road.

"You're building faster than the roads can accommodate (and) we will need new schools which will mean more property tax," said Joe Leppert, a resident of Leppert Road.

"Stop handing out approvals like candy," Leppert told commission members.

But Mike Wallen, representing the board of the Courtyards at Hayden Run, a condominium unit to the east of the proposed development, told commission members it supported the revised proposal, which includes access only via an emergency access point on Lexington Drive, a private road within the condominium units.

Commission members voted 6-1 to approve the proposal. Chris Lewie dissented.

Lewie, who lives on Edie Drive, said he opposed it because the density increased to almost three units per acre as opposed to the original proposal from 2015, which had a density of less than two units per acre.

"It was a better plan (three years ago)," Lewie said.

The city-planning, projects and services committee is expected to review the plan Oct. 22 and forward it to council. The legislation is scheduled for a first reading Nov. 13, a second reading Nov. 26 and a third and final reading Dec. 10.

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